Rutgers University

$1 Million Gift Launches RU Agribusiness Program

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Could the next head of Monsanto or DuPont Pioneer hail from Rutgers?

Maybe.

The not-for-profit Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation recently established a $1 million endowment to develop a new agribusiness program within the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Students with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and who meet other requirements will stand a chance to enroll in what’s called The Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation Agribusiness Scholars Program, according to Rutgers.

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“This gift is designed to create the next generation of agribusiness leaders who, through this program, will have exposure to all disciplines critical to succeed in today’s marketplace,” Ira Polk, the charity’s director, said in a press release.

The program is slated to begin in fall 2018.

Sophomores in SEBS will be invited to apply during the prior spring semester. Rutgers officials plan to list additional eligibility requirements later this year.

A select group of students will learn “applied knowledge, leadership qualities, analytical skills and experiences” to place them in careers in domestic and global agribusiness, according to the school. The program will also put them in touch with agribusiness leaders, regulators and government agencies.

“Students interested in careers in agribusiness will need to understand the implications of technological innovation,” Stephen Komar, an agricultural agent covering Sussex County and a professor who is co-leading the program, said, “and those factors that affect agricultural production and the ever-evolving dynamic of the global marketplace.”

Rutgers has long supported New Jersey agribusiness through its academic programs, research and county-based extensions.

Agribusiness encompasses a wide range of fields. It includes everything from the small-town farmer looking to earn a living and seed producers like Monsanto to equipment manufacturers like John Deere and wholesalers and retailers.

Rutgers officials said the industry has transformed dramatically in recent years. It also faces demands “to adapt to constantly changing worldwide markets,” according to the school.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of preparing the next generation of agribusiness leaders,” Komar noted.

Brian Schilling, an agricultural policy specialist at Rutgers, has been tapped to co-lead the agribusiness scholars program.

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