DENVER — The Bright Futures Scholarship fund, a new initiative to strengthen the future of the beef industry, is being launched by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. It will help develop future leaders and inspire young people to pursue careers in agriculture and the beef industry, according to the group.

"The Bright Futures Scholarship fund will help ensure a bright future for deserving students and for the beef industry in the United States," said Bob Josserand, chair of the Board of Trustees for the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. "A Bright Futures contribution is an investment. The return on that investment is helping preserve our legacy."

Contributions from individuals, corporations, associations and foundations with a vested interest in supporting young people that will strengthen the beef industry are being sought by the N.C.F. Each gift, no matter the amount, is important for the program to succeed.

"As a student experiencing the ever-increasing costs of living and higher education, scholarships recognizing academic achievement and leadership experiences have been a tremendous blessing in my life," said Dale Woerner, 2007 W.D. Farr scholarship recipient, of Greeley, Colo. "With generous contributions by caring individuals and companies, organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Foundation have been able to invest in the lives of young men and women striving to earn degrees and occupations in the agricultural and food industries. Beef industry scholarships have helped direct and develop my path to become an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University."

The goal of the Bright Futures initiative is to raise several million dollars for an endowed general scholarship fund. Money generated from the fund will be awarded as academic scholarships in undergraduate and graduate programs, veterinary medicine and culinary arts.

"We are launching Bright Futures with a sense of urgency," said Josserand. "We will be facing a crisis within the next decade if we don’t act now to help young people turn their passion for agriculture into a viable career. We cannot afford to lose them to another industry because they couldn’t afford to follow their heart into the beef industry."