Alcorn student receives young farmers and ranchers scholarship

When Sophomore Rodrick Patterson Jr. applied for a scholarship for young farmers during this past spring semester, he knew that he was headed in the right direction.

“I applied for this particular scholarship because I come from an agricultural family. I grew up around cows, horses, crop fields, tractors and trailers. So when I saw the name young rancher and farmer, I knew that I was automatically a candidate,” said Patterson, who majors in plant and soil sciences.

Patterson, who is a Leland native and graduate of Kemper County High School, received a $3,000.00 scholarship on behalf of Mississippi Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Scholarship Foundation. Each year, four $3000.00 scholarships are presented to Farm Bureau member students already studying in an agriculture area. These are designed to provide opportunities to those students showing need for financial assistance as well as academic ability and leadership qualities.

Up to two of these scholarships are available to incoming freshman, the other two are reserved for sophomore or older students. These scholarships are open to students attending any Mississippi university or community college. The deadline for applications to be received is June 1 each year.

Patterson was exploring what United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) career options he would have in the future when he was advised by former Alcorn agriculture liaison Clifton Peters to get as many qualifications as possible before receiving his degree.

“I spoke with Mr. Peters and he provided me with the scholarship application. He inspired me to obtain as many credentials as possible prior to graduating. He also informed me that scholarships would exemplify me as a great asset in my field of study.”

Patterson not only had his well-being in mind when he sought the scholarship. He also wanted to do this for the betterment of his family.

“I needed the financial assistance coming from a single parent home and being the oldest of three children. I wanted to show my younger siblings that we could do great things with faith and determination despite of our living conditions.”

Patterson’s new scholarship is a testament to what can happen when a student seeks the best opportunities to push them ahead in their academic careers. He expressed his excitement about his award.

“It feels very gratifying to be awarded my first scholarship and it has profoundly effected me and it shows my peers by working hard; we can take advantage of every opportunity. This is just the beginning for me.”

Patterson has big plans for his future in Agriculture.

“I plan to get a Ph.D., in agronomical sciences. I want to pursue my dream of working on the corporate level for the United States Department of Agriculture. I’m aiming toward building partnerships with other countries and building strong international businesses. I also want to focus on boosting production through the farm bureau, who has generally benefited the least from agricultural and tax issues along with a variety of issues affecting rural life.”

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