Students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities will be eligible for a new internship stipend program being created by the Farm Credit Council.

On Tuesday, the group announced the Launching Leaders program, which will offer a $3,500 stipend — offered in addition to other wages that might be received through the internship — to HBCU students or recent graduates who intern with a Farm Credit institution across the country.

Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose pointed out in a statement internships “often come with a whole range of financial burdens like travel, rent and a professional wardrobe. The Launching Leaders program will help offset those costs for HBCU students. HBCU students interested in financial services, IT, marketing and more will find great career opportunities at Farm Credit.”

Farm Credit will also host a job fair specifically for HBCU students Thursday.

The move comes as ag companies reassess their diversity efforts following racial tumult earlier this year. The National Farmers Union in September announced a memorandum of understanding with the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) that included a pledge to “motivate and prepare young adults of all racial ethnic groups to pursue careers in agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems.” The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture also issued an MOU with MANRRS. Florida A&M University recently launched a collegiate Farm Bureau chapter, joining North Carolina A&T in the ranks of HBCUs with such an affiliation.

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