The Agriculture and Rural Initiative, Compeer Financial’s donor-advised fund, has granted $825,000 to community and technical colleges across the cooperative’s 144-county territory, including $75,000 to Ridgewater College. 

“Because Compeer clients often list workforce development among their highest concerns, our board agreed that vocational agriculture education should be a high priority for the fund,” said Rodney Bosma, a Compeer Financial director. 

“Our partners in higher education provide opportunities for young adults in rural communities every day, and we hope this support will enhance those training programs to prepare them for a successful future in agriculture.” 

The organization has committed $1.9 million in grants and scholarships over the next five years to further develop agriculture’s workforce. 

Ridgewater has used its funds to purchase and vinyl-wrap a 45-foot agriculture technology mobile trailer with inspiring photos to help promote Ridgewater’s 10 ag programs through hands-on technology. 

Additional grant priorities included investing in a new Meat Cutting certificate program and purchasing an NIR (Near Infra-Red) Silage Moisture Tester. 

Compeer’s Karen Johnson attended the annual Ridgewater Ag Banquet on Tues., April 5, to share the milestone of the completed trailer and the progress in development of the Meat Cutting program. 

“It’s exciting to see how community and technical colleges provide a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity focused on the needs and careers in the local communities,” Johnson said. 

Each grant partner college is also receiving two annual $1,250 scholarships for ag program or pathway students during the next five years. 

Recipients of the 2022 Ridgewater Compeer Financial Scholarships were named at Tuesday’s banquet: Leah Mohs (of Rice) and William Pell (from Alpha).