The pork checkoff has teamed up with industry leaders to address one of the industry’s critical needs – the development of human capital.

Partners are offering scholarships to sophomore, junior and senior level college students considering a graduate degree program in a swine science discipline or a career in the pork industry.

The Pork Checkoff Pork Industry Scholarships Program will offer a $10,000 scholarship to the top applicant, $5,000 award to the runner-up and $2,500 awards to at least 14 other students, during the 2008-2009 school year.

College students entering their sophomore, junior or senior year are encouraged to apply for the scholarships if considering careers in agricultural business, agricultural engineering, agronomy, animal science, animal physiology, environmental sciences, nutrition, livestock reproduction, veterinary medicine and other related fields.

“The competitiveness of our industry depends on a sustainable source of human capital,” remarks Steve Weaver, new president of the National Pork Board and a producer from California. “It is critical that we recruit talented young people into our industry at all levels. These scholarships will be granted to youth interested in production, management, research and veterinary medicine.

“These young students have taken the first step by choosing to enter agriculture, animal science or veterinary medicine for their studies,” Weaver says. “We hope to interest them in narrowing their field to the pork industry. This industry offers many great career opportunities.”

Weaver adds: “In 2006, the industry sponsored a similar scholarship program. The program was very successful and over 100 deserving young people applied. This year, PIC has joined us to offer an even greater program. We truly appreciate their support.”

Those interested in learning more can visit http://www.pork.org/PorkScience/scholarship/ for information on how to apply and about the industry sponsors of these awards. Scholarship applications and supporting materials must be received by Sept. 15.