Community & Culture

Growing Future Ag Leaders

Syngenta, in partnership with FFA, awards scholarships to six agriculture students.

Breanna Chavez is starting a new chapter in her life. Chavez, the 2021 valedictorian at Harmony High School in Big Sandy, Texas, and first in her family to attend college, is in her first semester at Texas A&M University – and she has a little help from Syngenta.

Chavez is one of six students who earned a $2,500 scholarship and a donation to the charity of their choosing through the Syngenta Accelerating a Generation Scholarship program, which is managed by the National FFA Organization (FFA).

Chavez directed her donation to the Texas FFA Foundation and looks forward to the next steps in her agricultural pursuits. “This scholarship means the opportunity to attend college as a first-generation college student,” she says. “It’s a real self-esteem booster to know that an organization on the national level believes in me.”


It’s a real self-esteem booster to know that an organization on the national level believes in me.

Breanna Chavez Scholarship Winner

Chavez saw the importance of nutrition in order to live a healthy life through her agriculture courses and time in FFA. She is majoring in nutrition to help people and because it’s a strong platform for agricultural advocacy. “Throughout my time in FFA, I completed Agriscience Fair research projects and even won nationals with my studies regarding nutrition. It became clear that my passion for this topic is desperately needed,” Chavez says.

Charities around the country are benefiting from the hard work and dedication of these young scholars.

Another 2021 scholarship recipient, Madison Hargarten of Winchester, Indiana, directed her donation to the Winchester Community Garden. She says she’s happy pursuing her passion for agriculture, and the scholarship helps relieve financial stress as she heads to Purdue University to major in agricultural economics. “I love being immersed in agriculture, whether that’s being in the barn or mentoring younger kids,” Hargarten says. “Doing something every day that makes me this happy reassures me in my career path decisions. This scholarship helps me achieve my goals.”

Rewarding High-Yielding Talent

A talented group of students applied to the 2021 Syngenta-funded scholarship program. In addition to Chavez and Hargarten, selected winners and their designated charities include:

  • Leah Hudson from Topeka, Kansas; Kansas State University student majoring in agronomy & crop science; designated charity: Kansas 4-H
  • LeAnne Pace from Mount Hope, Alabama; Auburn University student majoring in environmental science; designated charity: Lawrence County Alabama Cattlemen’s Association
  • Leslie Webb from Greenwood, Delaware; University of Delaware student majoring in environmental engineering; designated charity: Delaware 4-H Foundation
  • Elise Wilkins from Tekoa, Washington; Montana State University student majoring in agricultural business management; designated charity: Second Chance Ranch of Spokane

Like Chavez and Hargarten, this class of talented students are excited about using those talents to improve the industry they love.

Kim Weseli, senior regional director of the National FFA Foundation, sees bright futures for these scholarship recipients. “The possibilities for these winners are limitless. They’re our future scientists, community leaders, national politicians, farmers feeding the world, front-line heroes and the list goes on,” Weseli says.

Looking Forward

Stewarding the next generation is an agricultural tradition that keeps the U.S. agricultural industry strong. “It’s essential for students to feel supported in agriculture because the industry must train the next generation of agricultural leaders,” says Pam Caraway, communications lead for Syngenta. “The strength of our industry is the people who lead it. Investing in the next generation is a path to continual growth as we continue to raise the level of crop performance, enhance the land through our stewardship and develop new technology to help us provide food, fiber and fuel to the world.”

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