How a Plot of Texas Farmland Keeps Paying for College Scholarships

At Gruver ISD in the Texas panhandle, students reap the benefits.

By Rhonda Fanning & Hady MawajdehOctober 14, 2015 10:05 am,

A funny thing has happened in a 410-acre cornfield in the panhandle town of Gruver, Texas: They’re harvesting scholarships.

It may be one of the most innovative merit scholarship programs anywhere in Texas.

Troy Seagler, superintendent of the Gruver Independent School District, explains to the Standard how a donation of farmland from resident Karl Nielsen’s estate sowed the seeds for the scholarship program.

“The price of farmland has skyrocketed and the school could have probably made about a million dollars if they did sell the farmland, but ultimately, this man donated this to the school in hopes that it would not just be one lump of money that is here and then eventually is gone,” Seagler says.

From the late 1970s to 2011, the land was leased out for $25,000 annually. After the decision to grow crops and the creation of the Gruver Farm Foundation, the yield now amounts to about $400,000 a year.