The South Dakota Wheat Growers will contribute $80,000 per year for three years to South Dakota State University to establish the Wheat Growers Scholar in agribusiness management in the university’s department of economics. The contributions will be made for three consecutive academic years, beginning fall semester 2011.

“Wheat Growers is delighted to provide the funding that will develop leaders to help solve management issues facing agriculture and agribusiness,” Wheat Growers CEO Dale Locken said. “Agribusiness management skills have never been more critical, and these programs at South Dakota State will help educate future generations of managers, entrepreneurs and economists in the agribusiness sector.”

The Wheat Growers Scholar will be named later this summer, based on merit, from the university’s department of economics faculty. The support provided by Wheat Growers will enable the scholar to dedicate time and energy to current and future challenges regarding management issues in agriculture and agribusiness. Many of the SDSU programs and activities of the Wheat Growers Scholar will include addressing issues of special importance to cooperative associations such as Wheat Growers and their management.

SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences Dean Barry Dunn said the grant will enhance the state’s capabilities to build a more robust and competitive agriculture and agribusiness sector in South Dakota and the region.

“Agricultural growth depends on the success of individual farm and ranch operators, and the businesses and cooperatives that support them,” Dunn said. “This gift will help us to develop a strong managerial talent pool that can continue to advance the competitiveness of South Dakota agriculture and agribusiness, improve profitability and strengthen the state’s economy.”

The Wheat Growers Scholar is one of several donor-funded programs in economics and management that are taking shape as South Dakota State University responds to emerging needs in the state and regional economy.

“Through this donation our board of directors and members have made a sound investment in the future of Wheat Growers and other co-ops in our region,” Locken said.