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ABC Provides Scholarships for Deserving Ag Students

Money raised by ABC’s Almond Leadership Program funded 14 college scholarships this year for deserving California FFA students.


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Almond industry leaders recognize the importance of investing in the future – new trees, new technology and opening new export markets all require spending today to create a more prosperous tomorrow.

The same principle applies to people. Investing in the next generation of agribusiness leaders makes sense on multiple levels. That’s why participants of the Almond Board of California’s Almond Leadership Program have worked hard to monetarily support the California FFA Foundation over the past four years.

Since 2016, the Almond Leadership Program has raised more than $150,000 in scholarship funds for FFA students graduating from high school who plan to pursue college degrees in ag-related fields. In 2019 alone, $55,000 was generated from the leadership program through golf tournaments as well as almond beer sales and a silent auction fundraiser held at The Almond Conference in Sacramento. Those dollars funded 14 Almond Board scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $7,500 per student. FFA members intent on pursuing any career in agribusiness – not just the almond industry – are eligible.

“The FFA program trains and prepares passionate students to take on industry roles after graduation,” said Jenny Nicolau, senior manager of Industry Relations and Communications for the Almond Board. “It is a duty — and honor — for Almond Leadership Program participants to support an organization that helps fuel the future of California agriculture.”

This year’s scholarship recipients represent every corner of California agriculture. All will be starting their college careers this fall.

“This scholarship makes me feel supported and confident in the industry I am entering,” said Dean Hill of Templeton. He is the California FFA State president and will be majoring in agriculture systems management at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“My grandpa has been working on an almond orchard most of his life and I am honored to have received this support from the Almond Board,” Hill said. “I will use the generosity of the Almond Board to further my education at Cal Poly to learn about agriculture and where I can make a difference.”


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Ivan Carranza of Santa Maria, who will attend Allan Hancock Community College in the fall, hopes to make his mark in the wine industry.

“Having this scholarship will help immensely, especially coming from a low-income family,” he said. “It will help me to be able to gather my materials that will be needed to succeed in college, and being prepared and organized is one big step for me to be successful along my journey to become a successful business person in the viticulture industry. So once again, I thank the Almond Board for seeing me a worthy recipient.”


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Scholarship recipient Mia Arisman of Galt, the future California FFA Secretary, plans to attend California State University, Chico, with a major in ag science and education.

“As a first-generation college student, I’ve spent the last four years in high school working to the best of my abilities to ensure my spot at a four-year university,” she said. “I often wondered how I’d be able to afford college, but I had faith that with perseverance and grit, my goals would be met. This scholarship will help in the journey to accomplish my goal of becoming an agriculture educator by providing me with essential financial aid to make my dreams a reality. Paying for college is no easy feat, but with this generous support I know I can continue to support the agricultural community and industry for a lifetime.”



Other recipients of this year’s scholarships are Aubrie Hazan of Gustine, Austin Terra of Escalon, Bailey Scheuber of Modesto, Bethany Helton of Bakersfield, Erika Sos of Chico, Grace Miller of Arcata, Jose Santos of Galt, Linzee DeGraff of Marysville, Siena Rollin of Riverdale, Sierra Hilyard of Hanford and Amy Suarez of Dos Palos.

Maureen Funk, the development director for the California FFA Foundation, said the scholarships are an important way of investing in the next generation of state agribusiness leaders.

These scholarships truly make a difference in the ability of these very dedicated students to pursue their chosen paths in ag,” said Funk. “We are grateful to the Almond Board, the members of its Almond Leadership Program and all other almond industry members who contribute for these students’ financial support.”

The Almond Board is proud to have supported the California FFA Foundation since 2011 through a silent auction fundraiser, which the Almond Leadership Program took over  in 2016. Leadership program participants have also hosted golf tournaments and other industry gatherings to raise money for deserving FFA students.

Industry members interested in partnering with the Almond Board in donating to the California FAA Foundation can visit to learn more and to make a donation.

To learn more about the Almond Leadership Program, please visit this webpage or contact Rebecca Bailey at