Aug 18, 2022

CFE awards Dordt student a full tuition sponsorship

Student receives a full scholarship from Cooperative Farmers Elevator to study Agriculture Technology at Dordt University.

An external view of Dordt's Agriculture Stewardship Center

An incoming Dordt University student, Alyssa Hilbrands, has been awarded a full tuition sponsorship for Dordt’s two-year Agriculture Technology program by Cooperative Farmers Elevator (CFE), a farmer-owned cooperative located in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

“The thing that inspired me the most about a two-year technical program is that I can grow my knowledge in agriculture and acquire an internship and possibly a lifelong career,” says Hilbrands.

Hilbrands was also inspired to pursue a career in agriculture after watching her dad run a successful operation.

CFE recently revamped their scholarship program to offer full tuition for students applying to select two-year agriculture programs, to invest in students such as Hilbrands, who are eager to serve in the industry and gain experience.

“We wanted to offer an opportunity for rural students going into ag an opportunity to earn and learn at the same time,” says Sarah Ranschau, human resources director at CFE.

The company has employed Dordt students as interns and employees in the past, including from the agriculture technology program. Ranschau shares that one student who graduated from Dordt with a two-year agriculture degree is now a full-time agronomy trainee and is a “phenomenal individual” who now has the opportunity to learn at the operational level, develop a customer base, and build a territory as an agronomist.

Students receiving the scholarship make a five-year commitment to CFE. They kick-off their time with CFE during their first two years of school where CFE rotates them through each of their divisions every three months: grain, feed, agronomy, and lumber. The students receive a mentor in each area and learn about each area of the business. CFE works around each student’s school schedule to create a plan that fits their needs.

After graduating with a two-year degree, scholarship recipients spend years three through five as full-time employees. They get their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), custom applicator’s license, and are forklift certified.

Ranschau shares that scholarship recipients are “armed with skillsets, knowledge, and ability to be a really robust individual.”

This aligns with Dordt’s mission to not just teach students the best current practices, but also the ability to be adaptable and well-rounded to adjust and learn as the industry changes in the future. Dordt seeks to develop skills in students that allow them to be leaders in their industry.

“I await the opportunity of my Dordt experience because I get to learn more about what I’m interested in, and I get to learn more about God and what he’s calling me to do,” says Hilbrands.

Students who apply to CFE’s sponsorship program must plan to attend an approved agriculture program from a list curated by CFE, which includes Dordt University.

To learn more about Dordt’s agriculture technology program visit

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers