Investing in the Future

Warner University Student Payton Ogburn Receives Farm Bureau Scholarship

by TERESA SCHIFFER

 

The Florida Farm Bureau is a committed supporter of students exploring careers in agriculture. Recently, the state board of directors for the Florida Farm Bureau approved a new scholarship program to grant one hardworking student the chance to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences at Warner University in Lake Wales. This scholarship covers up to $24,500 in expenses per year for two years. This scholarship not only provides for the student’s education but also creates the opportunity for the recipient to gain significant hands-on agricultural experience by managing various aspects of Warner’s Swindle Ag complex on campus, including a citrus test plot, raised vegetable beds, chicken coops, welding, and more.

 

Payton Ogburn, a Warner student who graduated from Frostproof Middle-Senior High School last year, has been selected as the first recipient of the scholarship. He’s long been involved in the agricultural lifestyle and credits his parents and Frostproof ag teacher Clay Brantley for cultivating his interest.

 

In fact, his mother, Catherine Ogburn, is the ag advisor for the middle school portion of the school he graduated from. His father’s family has been involved with agriculture for several generations in a variety of contexts. They have cultivated citrus groves, raised chickens, and grown peaches.

 

Brantley, in particular, was a major influence on Payton Ogburn in recent years because he encouraged the teen to venture out of his comfort zone and participate in events he would not have normally considered. Ogburn used that learning experience as a stepping stone to grow and further develop his character.

 

Ogburn has raised chickens and pigs, but his real interest lies in more mechanical pursuits. He’s tinkered in tool ID, tractor driving, and ag science, among other aspects of the industry. While he’s shown chickens and hogs at the Polk County Youth Fair, he’s also baked cakes and entered welding projects. For one particular project, Ogburn used a torch to shape horseshoes into charming human figures and scenes. He’s won a Tri-Color award and was considered for Best in Show for a patriotic horseshoe star that he created.

 

Of all the ag responsibilities and activities, the teen says he most enjoyed competing in the tractor driving competition in high school. One of Ogburn’s ag advisors, Hugh Moye, took notice of his efforts and recommended he apply for the Florida Farm Bureau scholarship. Moye is an assistant professor of Agricultural Science at Warner University, and he helps out with the school’s clay target shooting team. Ogburn joined the Royals Clay Target roster himself and has enjoyed getting a chance to build a stronger friendship with Moye.

 

Reflecting on his achievements, Ogburn says he feels honored to have been awarded this opportunity to attend Warner University. 

 

“This scholarship that I’m getting from the Farm Bureau is probably one of my proudest moments because I feel like I’ve worked really hard in the ag industry, and so I feel like it was a payout for working so hard – to get this really cool scholarship and the job.”

 

The agriculture community in which he was raised is just as proud of him. 

 

“As Payton’s home county farm bureau, Polk County Farm Bureau offers our congratulations on this tremendous opportunity,” says Carole McKenzie, Executive Director of the Polk County Farm Bureau. 

 

“Polk County Farm Bureau has been an ardent supporter of the ever-growing Warner Agricultural Studies program since its inception. We are fortunate to have this great postsecondary agriculture education resource in our community and appreciate the Florida Farm Bureau state board’s continued commitment to developing future agricultural leadership.” 

 

Ogburn started at Warner University in the fall term of 2021 and is now wrapping up his first year of school. 

 

“I absolutely love it,” he says. “I didn’t think I was actually going to like college that much, but I’ve met a lot of good friends and I’ve been able to do a lot of things that I didn’t think I’d be able to do in college. The intramurals are fun. The ag department is great, and it’s continually growing out there. So it’s really cool to see the growth of the ag department and be able to contribute to that.”

 

Ogburn is weighing his options on how to best apply his Ag Science degree when he graduates. 

 

“There are a few things I would want to do,” he explains. “Right now, my heart is set on something to do working with my hands, either working on tractors or something like that.”

Skip to content