The Southeastern Meat Association (SEMA) annually sets aside funds to provide scholarships to students who have made a commitment to pursue a career in the meat industry. Through this program, SEMA seeks to help promising students offset some of the costs of a higher education and to encourage quality people to enter and be successful in the meat business.

Eligibility Requirements:

SEMA Scholarships are available to students enrolled on a full time basis in programs leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in meat science, food science, animal science, or a related field. Students must be enrolled at a University in the Southeastern United States where Association members are located.  These states are: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Children of SEMA members (including children of employees of member companies) are eligible for these scholarships. These students must be seeking either a B.S. degree in meat science, food science, animal science, or a related field or be seeking a four year business degree at any accredited four year college or university. In order for the child of a member who is seeking a business degree to be eligible, the chief executive or owner of the Association member company must certify that to the best of their knowledge, the applicant seeking a business degree intends to seek a career in the meat industry.

Candidates for the scholarships must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 at the time of application. Eligible students must be entering their junior or senior year of study.

Previous scholarship recipients may re-apply for future grants but will be considered on an equal basis with other applicants. There are no automatic scholarship renewals. Each student must apply each year.

Age, gender, race, religion, national origin or financial needs are not conditions of eligibility for the award.

Scholarship Amount and Meeting Opportunity:

The scholarship amount currently approved by the SEMA Board of Directors is two thousand dollars ($2,000) each.

Scholarship recipients will also be invited to attend the Association Annual Meeting on an expense paid basis (See attached policy). At this meeting, the scholarship award recipients will be recognized before the entire membership of the Association as the scholarship winners. During organized educational and informal social sessions award recipients will have the opportunity to meet business owners and executives in the meat industry. Additionally, recipients will be given free access to tour the exhibit hall where vendors meet with members to discuss equipment, supplies and other offerings to support the businesses of the processing members of the Association. Students who attend this meeting are encouraged to actively participate in the meeting schedule.

Number of Scholarships Available:

The SEMA Board of Directors has approved funding for up to two (2) scholarships for 2024.

Application Content Requirements:

Each Applicant must complete and submit the following;

  1. A completed Scholarship Application form (link at page bottom).
  2. A copy of an official school transcript demonstrating a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 for all college level work completed as of the date of the application. A listing of planned future coursework must also be included.
  3. A brief letter indicating what role the student sees himself/herself playing in the meat industry after graduation.
  4. An essay describing an issue confronting the meat industry today or in the future. The essay must propose solutions to the issue presented and must be no less than 750 words and no more than 1,000 words.
  5. A listing of all activities that demonstrate leadership qualities and intellectual growth.
  6. Letters of recommendation from the department head and a faculty member.

The Competitive Award Process:

  • The deadline for applications to be received in the SEMA office is April 5, 2024. Late applications will be ineligible for consideration.
  • All 6 of the items listed in the Application Content Requirements must be included with the application. Incomplete applications will be ineligible for consideration. Please do not submit items on a piecemeal basis.
  • Timely and complete applications will be evaluated and scored by the SEMA Education Committee on the following basis.
    1. Complete and timely Application Form – 0% but grounds for ineligibility if not submitted.
    2. Essay, including clarity of expression, spelling, grammar, punctuation, accuracy of information and plausibility of proposed issue solutions -- 40%
    3. Activities list demonstrating leadership and intellectual growth. – 20%
    4. Transcript GPA and future coursework listing– 10%
    5. Letter indicating the role the applicant hopes to play in the meat industry 10%.
    6. Letters of recommendation, 20%
  • Following evaluation, the Education Committee will make recommendations for awards to the Board of Directors.
  • The SEMA Board of Directors will make the final decision as to award recipients. The decisions of the board are final. The Board reserves its right to exercise the authority to make a single, or no award, in lieu of two awards.
  • After decisions to award have been made by the Board of Directors, the Association Executive will notify award recipients (if any) and the universities. Notifications to recipients will be made by mid May 2024. Non-recipients will also be notified by this date.
  • Written acceptance from each successful recipient must be sent to the SEMA office.

Use and Payment of the Scholarship Award

The SEMA Scholarship is intended to be used primarily for the payment of scholastic expenses such as academic tuition and fees. Secondarily the funds may be used for books and/or other learning materials. Consequently, when possible, payment will be made directly to the Financial Aid Office of the recipients’ university. SEMA will ask the Financial Aid Officer to verify registration of the Scholarship recipient. If it is not possible to make the payment to the Financial Aid Office, SEMA may elect to pay the Scholarship directly to the scholarship recipient. Upon receiving the payment, SEMA will ask the recipient to provide invoices showing funds are used for tuition, books, etc.

In the event a scholarship recipient withdraws from school or transfers to another major during the term of the Scholarship, any unused balance of the award must be returned to the SEMA Scholarship fund.

The Southeastern Meat Association is pleased to provide these scholarships as part of our commitment to the future or our industry.

Southeastern Meat Association
400 Capital Circle SE, Suite 18270
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: 910-240-3210
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download the 2024 Scholarship Information and Application form:

2024 SEMA Scholarship Information and Application Form.pdf


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