By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID) is offering scholarships to post-secondary students.
“The District feels this is a great way to support agriculture and other post-secondary education within southern Alberta,” David Westwood, General Manager of SMRID, said.
Westwood says that the scholarships, which were originally created in 2010 by the Taber Irrigation District, are for $2,000 each and students anywhere within the district are eligible to apply.
“Originally five scholarships were offered,” Westwood said. “In 2022, after the amalgamation between the Taber Irrigation District and the St. Mary Irrigation District, the number of scholarships were increased to 15. Five are named for Keith Francis, longtime Board Chair of the Taber Irrigation District, Peter Langemann, former Board Chair of the SMRID and Jonnie Popel, a former employee of the SMRID.”
In order to apply, Westwood says, applicants must be a full-time student, and must be entering second, third, fourth, or fifth year of full-time study at a recognized university, college, or technical institute. Also, Westwood says, to be eligible students must have one of the following: possess irrigation acres themselves, parents who have irrigation acres, parents employed by rate-paying irrigators, or students or SMRID staff. Westwood emphasizes that preferential consideration will be given to students enrolled in an agriculturally-related program of study, good post-secondary accumulated GPA’s, whether or not an applicant previously received a scholarship, as a new applicant would have priority over a previous recipient, and education and career goals.
To apply for a scholarship, Westwood says, applicants fill out the forms on the SMRID website and then return along with a copy of their official transcript showing the courses taken and grades received during their post-secondary education.
Applicants need to hurry to get their information in as all forms in an application must be received at the SMRID office by Aug. 31, Westwood says. Funds will be disbursed to successful applicants in two equal instalments upon receipt of proof of registration from the university, college, or technical institute.
The scholarship application form, Westwood said, can be found at: https://smrid.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Scholarship-Application-Form.pdf.
“In 2022, we had 22 applicants and 15 were successful in their applications,” Westwood said. “2023 is open; we are still receiving applications. We hope that knowledge will benefit the agriculture sector in southern Alberta into the future.”