Scholarships for Organic Inspection Training

Andrew Rutherford Scholarship

Andrew Rutherford

IOIA accepts applications for the annual Andrew Rutherford Scholarship Award, which provides full tuition for an IOIA-sponsored organic inspector training course during the following year. Both prospective and experienced inspectors are eligible to apply for the Rutherford Scholarship. It is awarded to an individual on the basis of need and potential as judged by the IOIA Scholarship Committee. Applicants can choose to attend any IOIA-sponsored training. The Scholarship pays for tuition, room and board but does not cover transportation or other expenses.

The late Andrew Rutherford was a farmer, organic inspector, and organic agriculture researcher from southern Saskatchewan. He served on IOIA's initial steering committee and then several years as a Founding Board Member.

Organic Community Initiative Scholarship

In their community

IOIA also offers an annual Organic Community Initiative Scholarship (OCIS), which provides full tuition for an IOIA-sponsored basic organic inspector training during the following year. It is awarded to an individual on the basis of need and their potential to have a positive impact on their regional organic community. The Organic Community Initiative Scholarship is only open to applicants from outside of the US or Canada. Applicants can choose to attend any basic IOIA-sponsored training. The Scholarship pays for tuition, room and board but does not cover transportation or other expenses.

OCIS Travel Fund

The OCIS Travel Fund is supported entirely by donations and has helped scholarship recipients from South Korea, India, Mexico, and other countries travel to training.

Click here to donate to the OCIS Travel Fund.


Your Support is Greatly Appreciated!

IOIA is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit educational association, your donations are tax-deductible in the US to the full extent allowed.

Scholarship Recipients

2024 Andrew Rutherford Scholarship Recipient 

Iris Rendon, Ontario, Canada

Iris Rendon

Iris has been committed to the organic industry for over a decade, and believes strongly that the principles promoted by organic agriculture and food production are essential to preserving our home, the earth. Iris is determined to support the organic movement through her career as well as by personal choices each and every day. From starting out as a food safety audit administrator, later working in quality management and regulatory roles at organic certification and accreditation bodies, to more recently working directly with organic food producers, Iris applied for the Rutherford Scholarship as she is actively pursuing training opportunities to become a qualified organic inspector. Having recently completed the COR producer inspector training, and many of the training modules available on the USDA NOP Organic Integrity Learning Center, Iris looks forward to the next step in her learning journey via the IOIA organic food processor inspector training course, and continuing to serve the organic industry for many years. 

2024 Organic Community Initiative Scholarship Recipient

Wilver Betanco Velásquez, Somoto, Nicaragua 

Wilver Betanco

Wilver worked as a phytosanitary inspector for six years prior to his work in sustainable family farm agriculture and farm certification activities. He primarily works in Rural Community Development, including Climate Change and Resilient Production System (CC, Adaptation and Mitigation), with a focus on the empowerment of rural families. General mastery of coffee cultivation. Crop certification schemes.

Wilver currently serves as a technical advisor for an exporter and is responsible for farm certification activities, including preparation of documentary support and advice to producers to have conditions required in different Certification Seals (UTZ, Starbucks, Rainforest Alliance), primarily with coffee farms in the territories of Segovia, Jinotega and Matagalpa in Nicaragua.

He has extensive rural development credentials, including management of community groups and field facilitator for graduate students in the National Program of Technical Education of the Countryside, and holds two Field Master’s Degrees: "Quality of Organic and Conventional Coffee"; and “Evaluation of Beauberia bassiana in Coffee Cultivation".


Application Deadline

The Deadline for returning Scholarship applications is October 1.

Scholarship recipients are notified by December 15.

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Queries can be emailed to:


Rutherford Scholarship Application

Organic Community Initiative Scholarship Application