DJ Cain

Scholarship Expands Opportunities for Ag Entrepreneur

When DJ Cain applied for a scholarship through the Galesburg Community Foundation back in 2020 to offset the cost of his education at the University of Illinois, the ROWVA senior knew exactly where he wanted to end up after graduation: back home on the family farm in Rio.

“I want to work for my dad and grow the family farm, but with farming, there’s always ups and downs,” said Cain, who is pursuing his education with the goal of developing entrepreneurial opportunities that can offer a stable source of revenue for the operation. “I’m looking at options that will generate enough revenue to justify me being on the farm full time.”

He’s already started one business: DJ Cain Poultry. What began as a 4H project when he was 12 has grown to fill a niche in the local food market. Over the years he has developed ways to increase his profit margin and offerings and he plans to expand into different markets when he graduates and no longer has to split his time between the farm and school.

“I have a diversified skill set and I like to be able to use all of it, from accounting to customer service to the actual labor of producing the product. Being able to do every step of it is the thing I’ve enjoyed most about the poultry business.”

His major in Agriculture Leadership, Education, and Communications is adding to Cain’s skills. He has taken a breadth of classes, from animal science, horticulture, and soil science to ag marketing and leadership. “I just took an advanced spreadsheet applications class that is already helping me with bookkeeping and tax preparation for my business. It will also help me figure out the numbers as I plan another venture.”

Cain received the Oneida Telephone Exchange Scholarship to purse his college education, which is awarded to a ROWVA High School senior to help with tuition, fees, room and board, or books. “I don’t know that I would have been able to attend my dream school without scholarships,” said Cain. “I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Each scholarship offered through Galesburg Community Foundation has its own criteria. “All of these scholarships are made possible through gifts from generous individuals who know that when our students succeed, so do our communities,” said Joshua Gibb, President & CEO of Galesburg Community Foundation. “We are excited that DJ plans to come back to our community and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for him.”

Applications for scholarships are being accepted from February 1 until Tuesday, March 1, at 4pm. Learn more about scholarships.

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Haley Sloss

Charitable Giving Coordinator

Short Bio

Haley provides support to enhance the function and success of the Charitable Giving and Affiliate Teams. She ensures donors receive a personal approach to philanthropy through outstanding customer service by supporting charitable giving for donors and fund holders across the state.