2010 High School Graduate and FFA member, Daren Schneider of Salisbury, Mo., has been named the recipient of the 2010 SouthWestern – Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Scholarship. Daren was selected from a large group of FFA students who applied for the annual scholarship and earned the scholastic award for his academic excellence and dedicated involvement in his school and community activities.

The scholarship is part of an initiative by the SouthWestern Association, their association members and AFA; to promote careers in agriculture. Each February at the Western Farm Show (held in Kansas City), FFA students across Missouri and Kansas visit the show on FFA Day where they attend programming about their future in the agricultural industry. High school seniors who will attend a four-year college with a major in agriculture are encouraged to apply for the financial and leadership scholarship. Students must complete an essay about what they learned at the Western Farm Show, complete a comprehensive application and provide merit letters from teachers and leaders in their community. One student is chosen based on their accomplishments and merit.

Daren is the son of Mike and Denise Schneider of Salisbury; he has been accepted at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where he plans to pursue an education this fall in Ag Systems Management to become an Agricultural Engineer.

A luncheon was held for Daren on May 19th. In addition to Daren's parents, two long-standing SouthWestern Association equipment dealer members, Ron Roling from J.F. Roling & Son (John Deere) and Gary Woolston and Harold Chapman from Crown-Power Equipment (Case and Case-IH) both of Salisbury were there to congratulate him.

"We are proud members of an association that has deep roots in agriculture," says Chapman. "The Association continues to promote and assist our young students to take an active role in their community and in the future of agriculture. We are very proud that Daren won this scholarship out of the many applicants and look forward to him representing the Salisbury area for AFA."

Equipment dealership members like J.F. Roling & Son and Crown-Power Equipment support the SouthWestern Association through their membership dues and by taking an active role in industry functions.

Pictured left to right: Mike, Denise and Daren Schneider, Cory Hayes, SouthWestern Association; Ron Roling, J.F. Roling & Son; Gary Woolston, Crown Power Equipment

Founded in 1889, the SouthWestern Association was established by a progressive group of independent hardware and farm implement/mercantile dealers to help increase their profitability and solve common problems. Today, the Association (located in Kansas City, MO) is a source for ideas meeting the needs of their members. Working in areas of legislation, communication and education, the Association is recognized as a stabilizing force that encourages fairness in each of the five states it serves: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

Agriculture Future of America (AFA) (located in Kansas City) is a not-for-profit organization nationally recognized for its excellence in leader and career development training for the best and brightest college men and women and young professionals in the agriculture industry.

Through collaborative partnerships with colleges and universities, foundations, government agencies, businesses, associations, and individuals, AFA identifies accomplished student leaders and links them to "value added" learning opportunities designed to further their personal and professional development.