Next Generation

Agricultural Scholars Program

This program seeks to actively engage the graduate-level scholars in government and agricultural policy work with a year-long series of intensive, hands-on learning experiences.

Nominate An Ag Scholar

Nominations open for Ag Scholars 2022 cohort

Nominations for the 2022 Agricultural Scholars Program are now open.

Farm Foundation’s Ag Scholars Program is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS). It is a year-long program to inspire and train the next generation of agricultural economists interested in agricultural policy, commodity market analysis, agricultural finance and other applied fields.

Up to 15 applied or agricultural economics students will be selected for this exclusive program, with at least five to be chosen from 1890 land-grant institutions.

The program features events and projects throughout the year, including a mentorship with an ERS senior analyst, a research project, ag-focused forums and meetings, including attendance at a World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) “lock-up” session to witness the creation and release of their influential report, and attendance at other meetings and events such as the Farm Foundation Round Table meetings and the annual AAEA meeting.

Students must be nominated by their college dean or department head. The extended deadline for nominations is Tuesday, November 30. For more information, please look at our FAQ below. 

 We’ve been fortunate this year to have such a strong group of 2021 Ag Scholars, who are still hard at work through the end of 2021.

Nominate An Ag Scholar

Frequently asked questions

What is Farm Foundation?

Farm Foundation is an accelerator of practical solutions for agriculture. Our mission is to build trust and understanding at the intersections of agriculture and society. We accomplish this by leveraging non-partisan objective dialogue, information and training, catalyzing solutions and creating multi-stakeholder collaboration. Our vision is to build a future for farmers, our communities and our world.

Since 1933, we have connected leaders across agricultural sectors–farming, business, academia, organizations and government.

Learn more at

What is ERS?

The mission of USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is to anticipate trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America and to conduct high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making.

ERS identifies research topics based on the needs of public and private stakeholders who are engaged in public policy and program decisions. Key stakeholders include USDA policy officials; the White House; the U.S. Congress; USDA program administrators and managers; other Federal agencies; State and local government officials; and organizations, including farm and industry groups. ERS research provides context for and informs the decisions that affect the agricultural sector, which in turn benefits everyone with efficient stewardship of our agricultural resources and the economic prosperity of the sector.

What is the Farm Foundation Agricultural Scholars Program?

This program seeks to actively engage graduate student scholars working in agricultural economics or related agricultural policy work with a year-long series of learning experiences, focused on gaining a deeper understanding of production agriculture, agribusiness, and government, in hopes of inspiring and training the next generation of agricultural economists interested agricultural policy, commodity market analysis, agricultural finance, and other applied fields of economics.

What will the Ag Scholars do?

Over the course of one year, the Ag Scholars will have the opportunity to:

• Attend two Farm Foundation Round Table meetings (in January 2022 (Delray Beach, Florida) and June 2022 (Boise, Idaho);

Develop working relationships with key ERS senior analysts to identify research topics, provide additional career mentoring, and possibly serve on graduate committees; 

Present research and receive feedback from ERS economists during a capstone research presentation event;

Meet with and learn from senior executives with agribusinesses and in local trade associations;

Be assigned one ERS staff member as a mentor for the year and with an opportunity to shadow the ERS mentor for one day, if possible;

Participate in Farm Foundation Forums and other events throughout the year;

Participate in the USDA Ag Outlook Forum;

Attend the AAEA Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA, with special opportunities to connect and network with agricultural economists;

Potentially travel to Kansas City, MO and Washington, DC to tour local agriculture and agribusinesses, and gain on-the-farm and hands-on experience in the food and agricultural sector, as well as meet with and learn from senior executives in USDA, on Capitol Hill, with agribusinesses, and in commodity trade associations;

Attend a World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) “lock-up” session (virtually or in person) to witness the creation and release of this influential report.

What does the award cover?

The award covers all meeting registration costs, travel, hotel accommodations, and materials. 

If a selected student from a nominating university is unable to fully participate in the program for any reason, another student will be selected to take their place. Attendance and participation in all the Scholar events enhance the value of the programming for everyone.

Who can nominate a student?

Students must be nominated by their college dean or department head. To be eligible for this program, students must be U.S. citizens enrolled in a graduate degree program related to applied sciences, such as agricultural economics, at an accredited land grant college or university.

What is the student required to do?

Ag Scholars will be required to attend all of the gatherings outlined here, regularly check in with their mentor, and present project capstone research at the end of the program year. At times they may also be called up to comment, present, or offer insights into on subject matter related to their research.

What are the tentative dates and locations of the meetings and gatherings with Scholars will attend?

January 11-14, 2022 – Farm Foundation Round Table Meeting (Delray Beach, FL)

February 2022 – 2022 USDA Ag Outlook Forum (TBD)

June 8-10, 2022 – Farm Foundation Round Table Meeting (Boise, ID)

July 31-August 2, 2021 – Attend AAEA Annual Meeting (Anaheim, CA)

Summer/Fall, 2022 – Trips to Kansas City and/or Washington, DC

Farm Foundation Forums are typically held virtually on Tuesday mornings in February, March, April, May, June, September, October and November 

Dates and locations are subject to change at any time.

What is the nomination timeline?

To nominate a student, please submit an application form here by November 30, 2021. 

Who can I contact with questions?

If you have questions at any time through the Scholars program year, please reach out to Martha King, Farm Foundation’s Vice President of Programs and Projects, at (331) 871-3377 or

Our Policy

It is the policy of Farm Foundation to provide equal opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual identity, age, or disability.