Conservation Scholarships

CDI is partnering with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) to foster the higher education endeavors of Iowa students interested in conservation and agriculture by offering scholarships. Iowa High School Class of 2020 students pursuing programs of study in any field of conservation or agriculture qualifies for the Conservation Scholarship. While this is a wide field and many studies qualify, preference will be given to students pursuing programs of study in conservation. The scholarship must be used for the student’s first year of college education.

2020 Application & Instructions

Please note that the application form has been changed. Application forms from previous years will not qualify. Follow the instructions on the application closely. Applications filled out incorrectly will not qualify. Pay close attention to deadlines. Applications submitted after set deadlines will not be considered. The 2020 application is available HERE.

Application Process & Deadlines

  • November, 2019: Participating SWCDs get the word out about the 2018 Conservation Scholarship.
  • Friday, February 14, 2020: Applicants must submit their scholarship applications to the SWCD Office in the county which they reside in. Visit and select your county on the map to locate your county SWCD Office.
  • Friday, March 13, 2020: The local SWCD chooses a county application to forward on to their CDI Regional Director.
  • Friday, March 27, 2020: The CDI Regional Director chooses a regional application to forward on for consideration at the state level.
  • Friday, April 10, 2020: A judging team of CDI Officers, Regional Directors & Alternates then make the final selections. There are nine CDI regions.
  • Tuesday, May 5, 2020: CDI will then alert the local SWCD offices with winning applicants. Local SWCD offices will, in turn, notify the student, school and local media.


After final selections, the top three scholarships will be awarded at the state level in the amounts of $3000, $2000 and $1000. Winners from the remaining six regions will each receive $500. First, second and third place awards will be paid directly to the applicant’s school of choice in two equal installments, one upon enrollment at the beginning of the year and the second at midterm. The six other scholarships will be paid directly to the students.

Selection Criteria

Scholarship applications are judged based on the following criteria:

  • 20 points for Involvement, Leadership and Character
  • 20 points for Career
  • 30 points for Scholastic Achievement
  • 30 points for Conservation Message


2020 Conservation Scholarship Rules

2020 Scholarship Application

Congratulations to the 2019 Scholarship Winners!

1st Place – Jacob Ewart, Louisa SWCD, CDI Region 7, $3,000

2nd Place – Megan Rotert, Carroll SWCD, CDI Region 5, $2,000

3rd Place – Grant Welk, Story SWCD, CDI Region 6, $1,000

Our Regional Winners – With an award of $500/Scholarship
CDI Region 1- Paul Schlotman, Plymouth SWCD
CDI Region 2- Calvin Carlson, Humboldt SWCD
CDI Region 3- Abigail Poppe, Chickasaw SWCD
CDI Region 4 -Brett Schoenherr, Jackson SWCD
CDI Region 8 – Nathan Manterach, Clarke SWCD
CDI Region 9 – Abby Rotole, Wapello SWCD

2018 Scholarship Winners

1st Place: Austin Crew, Clay SWCD, Region 2

2nd Place: Kathryn McCarthy, Woodybury SWCD, Region 1

3rd Place: Jessica Schmidt, Winneshiek SWCD, Region 4