Ohio State Student Wins National Black Farmers Scholarship

Zaid Hightower, an Ohio State student from Cleveland who is majoring in psychology (College of Arts and Sciences) and minoring in agriculture, has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the National Black Farmers Association Scholarship program.

Established in May 2015, the scholarship program is funded by the FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC.

“Empowering young people with access to knowledge is transformational,” said Lesley Slavitt, head of civic engagement—external affairs, FCA US LLC. “Supporting entry to higher education will ensure that these future leaders galvanize the tools, skills and passion necessary to make meaningful change in the world and provide access to food security for generations.”

Scholarship recipients were selected based upon several criteria, including academic performance, demonstrated leadership and participation in agricultural and community activities, and career goals and objectives.

Hightower, among his activities, is an undergraduate student associate specializing in urban gardening with Ohio State’s Buckeye Civic Engagement Connection.

In all, the scholarship program recently awarded more than $87,000 in scholarships to 19 students to support the development of a new generation of African American farmers. The FCA Foundation also announced it would fund up to $100,000 for a second year of the program.

“The plight of the black farmers and the loss of black-owned farms have been a major issue for well over 100 years,” said John Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association. “In 1910, nearly 1 million black farm families owned over 15 million acres of land. Today, less than 45,000 black farm families own 3 million acres. The NBFA Scholarship program will begin to address black land loss.”

Information about how to apply for the 2016 NBFA scholarship program will be available in early May at https://scholarsapply.org/blackfarmersassociation/.

About the National Black Farmers Association

The National Black Farmers Association is a non-profit organization representing African American farmers and their families in the U.S. As an association, it serves tens of thousands of members nationwide. NBFA’s education and advocacy efforts have been focused on civil rights, land retention, access to public and private loans, education and agricultural training, and rural economic development for black and other small farmers.