Jacob Rathbun of Naples, New York, has been named the 2015 Empire State Potato Growers Association Scholarship winner.

2015 Empire State Potato Growers Association Scholarship winner Jacob Rathbun readies a planter with barley seed at Rathbun Farms, Naples, NY. Photo: Barb Rathbun Photography

2015 Empire State Potato Growers Association Scholarship winner Jacob Rathbun readies a planter with barley seed at Rathbun Farms, Naples, NY. Photo: Barb Rathbun Photography

The Empire State Potato Growers Association annually selects an undergraduate student residing in and attending college in NY to receive a $500 scholarship per academic year for up to four consecutive years of agricultural education.

Jacob will graduate from Naples High School in June and begin his pursuit of a degree in viticulture at Finger Lakes Community College in the fall. He plans to transfer to Cornell University to complete his Bachelors degree in viticulture and enology. His career goal is to start his own grape farm and winery and grain production enterprise.

Jacob was raised on the family farm in Naples, NY, where he has helped fit ground, plant, hill and harvest 350 acres of potatoes. This spring, Jacob and his father Charles Rathbun planted 50 acres of their first crop of barley to sell to the craft brewing industry. Jacob has a hobby planting of grapes on the farm. This summer he will visit vineyards and wineries in Italy.

The Empire State Potato Growers Association recognized Jacob Rathbun for his interest in pursuing an agricultural education with the goal of establishing a new farm business in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, said Empire State Potato Growers Association Scholarship Committee Chairman Andrew Pryputniewicz.

The Empire State Potato Growers will recognize Jacob Rathbun as their 2015 scholarship winner at the Ag Leadership Luncheon at Empire Farm Days on August 12 at Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls, NY.

The luncheon, sponsored by American Agriculturist magazine, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and Empire State Potato Growers, Inc., will also include presentation of New York’s Agricultural Environmental Management Award, and New York Farm Viability Institute project highlights.