World Ag Expo® and E.M. Tharp, Inc. have teamed up again for the 13th annual “We Believe in Growing” scholarship, which supports local high school students who will be attending four-year universities to major in an agricultural field. This year’s winners, Chastine Gist of Tulare, CA, and Jacob Martinez of Lindsay, CA, will each receive $2,500 scholarships to be renewed up to four years, totaling $10,000 per student.
“We are thrilled to join again with World Ag Expo® to support agricultural education,” said Casey Tharp, Vice President of E.M. Tharp, Inc. “There is so much ambition and talent within our younger generation. I am optimistic about the future of agriculture, because of students like Chastine and Jacob.” The scholarship was established by E.M. Tharp in 2007 and has helped 26 students gain an education focused on agriculture.
Gist began participating in 4-H showing sheep, training dogs, making jam, and participating in photography. Now, upon her senior year, she currently represents the chapter as Vice President teaching middle schoolers the importance of agriculture, showing her lamb at the fair and attending the National Convention.
“Joining Tulare FFA my freshman year was one of the best decisions I made during my high school career. My future plans have always been to contribute to the agriculture industry and make the family farm even more successful. The FFA has given me the foundation that I plan to build upon at a 4-year university studying Ag Business so that I am able to come back to the family farm and achieve the goals that I have set out for myself,” stated Gist.
Martinez joined the Prairie Center 4-H Club at nine years old. He decided to do a swine entrepreneurship project and has had hogs in his barn ever since. He has vaccinated, assisted his sow in birthing, cut teeth, ear notched, and shown his hogs. Martinez is a member of the Tulare County Farm Bureau Youth Leadership Program and has been an FFA chapter officer for the last three years.
“Through all the speaking competitions and judging teams I have participated in, I can genuinely say that my success was because of these organizations. Throughout the wisdom of my advisors and the trust many people had in me, I can say that 4-H and FFA organizations have shaped me into who I am today and have prepared me for my future to come,” stated Martinez.
To be considered for the scholarship, students from across the Central Valley submitted letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores and must expect to graduate from high school during the 2019-2020 school year. The winners were recognized at the World Ag Expo® Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.