Perdue Farms has donated $50,000 to a scholarship fund to help the children of Niman Ranch farmers and ranchers return to their family farms after college.

The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation grant will benefit the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation.

“Hard-working family farmers are the backbone of agriculture in our country and we’re committed to supporting the next generation of farmers with funds to help offset the burden of obtaining a college education,” says Kim Nechay, executive director of the Perdue Foundation. “We’re honored to help grow the next generation of farmers through the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship Fund with support from the Perdue Foundation to provide stability for the Niman Ranch Foundation long into the future.”

The Next Generation Scholarship program was started by Niman Ranch, a network of U.S. family farmers and ranchers committed to sustainability and animal welfare, in 2006 with just one scholarship in honor of David Serfling, a Niman Ranch farmer who passed away suddenly that year.

Over the past 11 years, the scholarship program has dispersed more than $500,000 to the children of Niman Ranch farmers who are committed to furthering their education to support rural communities and sustainable farming.

“Student loan debt is a significant challenge for the next generation of sustainable agriculture leaders. This generous gift will change the lives of many and have a ripple effect felt in communities across rural America,” says Chris Oliviero, general manager of Niman Ranch. “We are grateful for the Perdue Foundation’s generous support of this important cause and appreciate their long-term commitment to the fund.”