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World Ag Expo® and E.M. Tharp, Inc. have teamed up again for the 17th annual "We Believe in Growing" scholarship, supporting area high school students who will be attending four-year universities to major in an agricultural field. This year's winners, Kendra Ward of Hanford, CA and Reed DeBoer of Porterville, CA, will each receive $2,500 scholarships to be renewed up to four years, totaling $10,000 per student.

“We are excited to partner with World Ag Expo once again for the scholarship program,” said Casey Tharp, Vice President of E.M. Tharp, Inc. “E.M. Tharp sees the potential growth in these students to become great leaders in the agriculture industry and we are honored to help them achieve their career goals.” The scholarship was established by E.M. Tharp in 2007 and has helped over 30 students gain an education focused in agriculture.

Kendra Ward

Kendra Ward, a student at Immanuel High School, plans to study Agriculture Science and receive her teaching credential at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo or California State University Fresno in the fall. Her long-term goal is to work as an Ag Teacher.

Agriculture is in Ward’s roots. As the 7th generation of a California farming family, Ward knew from a young age she wanted a career in Agriculture. Her love for ag, communication, and teaching led her to pursue her future career in education. She has been an active 4-H, and FFA member and was a participant in the Tulare County Farm Bureau Youth Leadership program. She is also a student council member, has served on various mission trips to Thailand and the Dominican Republic and has been a full-time classical ballet student for 14 years.

“Through my efforts in 4-H, FFA, and working in ag in the summers, I have found I love learning about working outside with plants and animals”, stated Ward. “I hope to motivate the younger generation to want to pursue agriculture and help keep the agriculture industry strong for generations to come.”

Reed DeBoer

Reed DeBoer, a student at Monache High School, plans to major in Plant Science with a minor in Agribusiness at California State University, Fresno, and work as a Pest Control Advisor.

With a strong desire to learn, DeBoer has obtained multiple jobs in the agriculture industry preparing himself to be diverse and equipped for his future goals. He has worked as a mechanic at a trucking company, a guide for backcountry fishing trips, and on a citrus farm where he learned about farm management. As an FFA member, he has been a part of his high school’s swine team for four years and is currently building a scraper and chicken coop to exhibit at this year’s fair.

“I have big goals in mind when it comes to my future in the agricultural industry,” stated DeBoer. “I believe I can have a great impact on our agriculture community.”

To be considered for the scholarship, students from across the Central Valley submitted letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and must expect to graduate from high school during the 2023-2024 school year. The winners were recognized at the World Ag Expo® Opening & Awards Ceremonies on Tuesday, February 13, 2024.

E.M. Tharp, Inc. is known throughout the West as the leading trucking sales, parts, and service provider – a reputation that has been earned through eight decades of pure dedication to keeping promises and getting every job done right the first time. Learn more at

The International Agri-Center® is home to World Ag Expo®, February 13-15, 2024, in Tulare, California. An estimated annual average of 100,000 individuals from 60 countries attend World Ag Expo® each year. The largest annual agricultural show of its kind, World Ag Expo® hosts 1,200 exhibitors displaying cutting-edge agricultural technology and equipment on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space.

Event Details At-A-Glance

2024 World Ag Expo®, February 13-15

Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

International Agri-Center®

4500 S. Laspina St. Tulare, CA 93274