January 31, 2011

A financial lending cooperative has created an endowment that will provide scholarships to students majoring in agriculture at the University of Kentucky.

Honoring a UK College of Agriculture graduate, the Donnie Winters Agriculture Endowment was established by the board of directors of Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, a $17 billion lender serving more than 20,000 farmers and rural residents throughout Kentucky. The endowment recognizes the contributions of Winters, who has served in a number of capacities within the organization for more than 40 years, including CEO since 1989. Winters recently announced he would retire from Farm Credit later this year.

"We could think of no better way to support education and agriculture and to honor the achievements of an individual who has contributed greatly to the growth and viability of this organization," said Dan Flanagan, board member from Campbellsville. "We are deeply appreciative of all Donnie has done for our association, our staff and our customers. He has inspired us to perform at the highest level possible for the advancement of agriculture and rural America."

Winters graduated from UK in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture. He is a strong supporter of the College of Agriculture, said Marci Hicks, the college's director for development. He was named a UK Fellow and College of Agriculture Scovell Society member in the spring of 1991 when Farm Credit Services of Mid-America established the Farm Credit Services Endowed Scholarship. To date, 37 students have been awarded a total of $53,250 in scholarship assistance from this endowment.

In addition to scholarships, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America has helped to support student-related activities and organizations and the Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program. The company has supported UK's work in rural journalism as well.

Winters was also instrumental in establishing the company's support of 4H Youth development programs run through UK Cooperative Extension Service.

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