High school graduates who belong to the Future Farmers of America will be eligible for onetime scholarships of up to $1,000 under a plan announced Monday by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Under the arrangement, FFA members who graduate from a Louisiana high school are eligible for a $500 scholarship to attend any school in the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

Those who compete in the annual state conference and are selected state champions can land a $1,000 scholarship starting with the 2017-18 graduating class.

“Having a college degree or becoming certified in a certain specialty is one of the most important assets anyone can have who is interested in securing a good paying job, which is something our community and technical college system and the FFA understand,” Edwards said in a statement.

“I have long been a proponent of more innovative collaborations between the state’s secondary and post-secondary institutions that would remove financial barriers and increase access to academic and workforce training," he said.

"This agreement will help accomplish that goal and pave the way for a brighter future for our students and our community college system.”     

Monty Sullivan, president of LCTCS, says the program was conceived to attract high school graduates who aren't going to college. "We have about 40,000 graduates (annually) with about 10,000 of those leaving high school and not entering college or the military," Sullivan said. "These are the students who need to know that we care about their futures and that their local community and technical college is a viable post-secondary option."

Eric Smith, Louisiana's FFA adviser, said the scholarship agreement is sparking a buzz.

"It's the most viewed Facebook post we've had, and I've had constant calls from teachers who want to know more about the program," Smith said, also in a statement.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.