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Scholarship opportunities

The Cook County Farm Bureau® Foundation enhances the future of agriculture by providing a variety of scholarships to members, dependents and others seeking a major in agriculture, agribusiness, or an agriculturally related course of study with intent on an agriculturally related career. The CCFB Foundation is intent on supporting future generations to help assure a well-qualified, professional agricultural workforce in the Chicagoland area and Illinois.


"Moving Ag Forward" Vocational Ag Career Training ***Open now***

There are 3 open enrollment cycles throughout the year. For more information and to apply today, click here. Application period ends 10/31/23. 


This scholarship has been designed for individuals and Cook County Farm Bureau members pursuing training in agriculturally related skills including tractor/truck diesel mechanics, CDL for crop, food and livestock hauling, welding, agricultural technology, etc.


Multiple scholarships valued at $1,250 are available for eligible candidates.


Adult Scholarships (Available year-round)

Available scholarships include reimbursement for:

  • Master Urban Farmer Training
  • Master Gardener Training
  • Illinois Ag Leadership Program
  • Ag Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT)


For more information and to apply for an Adult Scholarship, please click here.


College Scholarships **Open now - Deadline to apply is february 16, 2024**

Apply here


Howard Paarlberg Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship: The top-rated applicant selected by the evaluation committee from the General CCFB Foundation Scholarship applicants will be named to this scholarship which carries the highest monetary value offered by the Foundation.


Value: $3,500


General CCFB Scholarships:

Intended careers may include Farming, Greenhouse, Agronomy, Horticulture, Aquaculture, Agribusiness/Management, Rural healthcare, Veterinary medicine, Nutrition/Food Science, Agriculture Education, Forestry or a number of other agriculturally related pursuits.


Multiple scholarships valued at $2,000 are available for eligible candidates


Stuenkel Family Scholarship: This scholarship has been designed for individuals and Cook County Farm Bureau members pursuing higher education with a focus on an agriculturally related career in the areas of technology, education, leadership development and/or mental health.


Value: $3,000


Careers in Agriculture

Careers in agriculture are more than farming! According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, a total of 19.7 million jobs, or 10.3% of U.S. employment, was related to agriculture in 2020. Farming only made up 13.5% of agricultural employment; food service made up 53.4% and food and beverage stores made up 16.5%.

There are more than 1 million agriculture-related jobs in Illinois. Ag-related careers include plant science, animals science, natural resources, agricultural business, environmental science, agricultural mechanics, and food science.

Below are descriptions of a few of the “-ists” working in ag careers and descriptions of what they study from the Illinois Agricultural Education:

  • Agronomist – soil management and crop development
  • Apiculturist – bees and the art of beekeeping
  • Biochemist – the chemical and physical principles of living things and their biological processes
  • Biologist – living organisms
  • Biotechnologist – develops products and technologies that help fight disease, feed the hungry, use cleaner energy, etc.
  • Botanist – the science of plants
  • Climatologist – weather patterns over a period of time to discover trends over months, years, or even centuries. Also researches the impacts of climate changes
  • Conservationist – manages, improves, and protects the natural resources, including soil, the environment, animals, and wildlife
  • Economist – the production and distribution of goods and services
  • Entomologist – insects
  • Geneticist – the transmission of hereditary characteristics from one generation to the next
  • Horticulturist – the science of raising and caring for plants, flowers, and greenery
  • Microbiologist – living things seen through a microscope
  • Nutrient management/waste management specialist – develop appropriate methods for removing and managing animal and food waste from or in the environment
  • Pedologist (soil scientist) – all living and non-living aspects of soil, soil formation, and erosion
  • Product development food scientist – improves methods of processing, canning, freezing, storing, packaging and/or distributing food
  • Taxonomist – the structure of a species, maps its DNA and groups organisms into categories
  • Zoologist – animals and how they interact with their ecosystems




Recipients of the 2023 Scholarship Program have been announced...

The Board of Directors of the Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation have selected three individuals as recipients of the 2023 Scholarship Program. They are:


Elijah Floerke - *Howard Paarlberg Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship

Floerke attends Illinois State University and is majoring in Agribusiness. He plans to study abroad this summer in France to grow his knowledge of agriculture and to gain an understanding of the business side of ag. Elijah is the son of Jeff & Janelle Floerke of Orland Park.


Matthew Smits 

Smits attends Purdue University and plans to graduate from the College of Agriculture with a degree in Horticulture with a concentration in production and management. He hopes to expand and improve the productivity and efficiency of his family farm after he graduates. Matthew is the son of Carl & Debra Smits of Sauk Village.                  


Amelia Niedbalec 

Niedbalec will attend the University of Missouri with a major in Biology and will be exploring the field of agriculture. Amelia is the daughter of Mariusz Niedbalec of Mundelein.


Jennifer Miller

Miller attends Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine and is working toward her doctorette in Dental Medicine. She will pursue her career in rural dentistry as there is a great demand for healthcare in rural areas.


A total of $11,000 of scholarship funds were distributed.


*Howard Paarlberg Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship

This scholarship is designed to honor Mr. Howard Paarlberg, the first President of the Foundation and President of the Farm Bureau for 16 years. The recipient carries the prestige of being the top-rated applicant and a greater financial reward for the individual.



The Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation was established by the Cook County Farm Bureau to carry out charitable, literary and educational work in Agriculture.  The Foundation Board established the Agricultural Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to students pursuing education for agricultural careers and to encourage the best and brightest young minds to return to Agriculture as their chosen career.



related ag scholarships

IAA Foundation     



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