SMITHFIELD, VA. – Smithfield Foods Inc. and non-profit organization Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) announced a partnership on Nov. 12. Smithfield has committed $500,000 to MANRRS to help the organizations’ pursuit of excellence in leadership, scholarship and service through fostering involvement of membership from diverse backgrounds in the field of agriculture.

The first thing Smithfield’s investment will focus on is creating a pipeline of diverse K-12 students with an interest in food, agriculture and natural resource careers. Smithfield and MANRRS created the Smithfield Jr. MANRRS Scholars Program to help the next generation of leaders achieve success and expose minority students to STEM-related disciplines through a series of educational programs and curricula aimed at expanding their agricultural acumen.

“Smithfield Foods is honored to be part of the ongoing effort to engage historically underrepresented students in the future of our industry,” said Steve Evans, a director of community development at Smithfield Foods. “By investing in these initiatives, we will provide the agricultural sector with broader perspectives and backgrounds. The innovative programs outlined by MANRRS will assist us in increasing our capacity to attract top-tier talent and continue to feed the world.”

Money from the grant will also support historically black colleges and universities, to provide resources and strengthen student candidates for industry leadership roles. High school seniors will receive a $5,000 scholarship to attend a historically black college and university of their choice participate in their local collegiate MANRRS chapter through Smithfield’s new 1890 Leadership program, named after the 1890 Land-Grant Institutions (historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890). The initiative will also include summer stipends for underclass students to take part in research, immersion programs and a nationwide eMentoring program.

“This initiative will nurture a generation of diverse agricultural leaders and lay the groundwork for strengthening the relationships between the industry and these institutions,” said Ebony Webber, chief operating officer of MANRRS. “We’re grateful for our partnership with Smithfield Foods, a leader in its industry who understands the importance of amplifying our students’ voices.”

For more information about how to apply to upcoming MANRRS initiatives, visit:

To learn more about Smithfield's educational initiatives and commitment to their communities, visit