By Glen Schmidt, MFU Education Director
Each year, Minnesota Farmers Union and National Farmers Union offer numerous scholarship opportunities to members and their children. Altogether there is more than $10,000 of scholarship money available. Please encourage any student currently attending or just starting college to visit www.mfu.org/scholarships for more information and to download the applications.
NFU Women’s Conference Scholarships
I am pleased to announce that we have six individuals receiving scholarships to attend the 2019 National Farmers Union Women’s Conference, held Jan. 13-17 in San Diego, Calif. They are:
Theresa Bentz of Northfield: “I would like to learn more about supports for women in ag since I am the brains and sweat behind my small operation, and to learn from other women who have made their mark in the world of ag.”
Katie Brown of Rogers: “This conference will help me become more informed about current issues that our industry is facing as well as learning about ‘Farming in Community.’ The Minnesota Farmers Union will benefit from my attendance to this conference because I will be taking this information and experiences and bringing it directly into different communities in Minnesota as I begin my career as a high school agriculture teacher.”
Amy Liddell of Ada: “I would like to attend the NFU Women’s Conference so that I can further my knowledge of how agricultural can transform communities and the roles that women play in this. I believe sharing this information within Minnesota could help encourage more women to get involved.”
Josephine Trople of Northfield: “I see the NFU Women’s Conference as an incredible learning opportunity and a way for me to authentically uphold my commitment to developing my leadership within my local, regional, state, and national agricultural community.”
Cynthia VanDerPol of Kerkhoven: “When we get together for the Minnesota farmers union women’s conference we always have a lot to talk about, mental health of our farming families, struggles that we are all facing in these difficult farming time and how to keep our family homes going. I hope that we can get ideas from a national side of things and bring that back here to Minnesota.”
Kirsten VanDerPol of Kerkhoven: “I would be honored to attend the NFU Women’s Conference. Farmers Union is a large part of my life and a large part of why I am majoring in Agricultural Business. I would love to see how women are impacting agriculture across the country.”
Congratulations to all the 2019 Women’s Conference scholarship winners!
Rice County scholarships
Rice County Farmers Union has a long history of sponsoring scholarships within Rice County and to students statewide. Scholarships from Rice County Farmers Union are available to Minnesota Farmers Union family members who plan to attend or are currently enrolled in post-secondary institutions, technical or trade schools, community colleges, state universities or private institutions.
The Rice County Farmers Union has selected three outstanding candidates to receive scholarships in 2018-2019:
Riley Donkers, son of Jim and Gail Donkers of Faribault. Riley attends South Dakota State University where he is majoring in Agronomy with Precision Agriculture and Economics minors. Riley wrote in his essay, “Farmers Union has always been a part of my life. In my early childhood we would go and visit my Grandma Pat at the state convention so we could go swimming and have the night away. We would learn all about what the hot topics were at the conference and visit with the other members. The Farmers Union paper was always on the table at home and we’d read the articles that interested us and discuss the item over dinner. I don’t think I realized it until recently, but the Farmers Union mentality has played a very strong role in my upbringing and has continued to help shape my political and economic decisions.”
Ethan Johnson, son of Dean and Elizabeth Johnson of Heron Lake. Ethan is majoring in Agricultural Education and Dairy Manufacturing at SDSU. Ethan says, “Growing up I often heard stories about my great-grandfather Ernest Johnson. He was a participant of the Farm Holiday Association, an effort to protect small farms during the 1930’s. That experience led him to be one of the founding members of Farmers Union in our county. He passed that passion of small farming to my grandfather and my father who were/are both Farmers Union members. That passion has inspired me to look for careers that will allow me to stay in the area helping out local farmers with an eventual goal of coming back to the farm.”
Abigail Donkers, daughter of Jim and Gail Donkers of Faribault. Abigail is studying Agricultural Leadership with minors in Animal Science and Non-Profits at South Dakota State University. In her essay, Abigail wrote, “A few years ago Minnesota Farmers Union held their first ever Women’s Conference, and I can proudly say that I attended this conference. I loved everything about the conference – from the music and theme ‘This Girl Is On Fire’ to the AWESOME local food we shared! By far my favorite session was learning how to share my story. I learned that I have a very short window of time to share my story – so make it matter!”
MFU Collegiate Scholarship
Minnesota Farmers Union has is also happy to announce the winners of the MFU collegiate scholarship. They are: Alexys Roseland, daughter of Lisa Roseland of Arlington, attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth; Meghan Beckendorf, daughter of Brad and Jennifer Beckendorf of Renville, attending Southwest Minnesota State University; Katrina M. Thoe, daughter of Susan and Jeffrey Thoe of Hayfield, attending Winona State University; Riley and Abigail Donkers; and Ethan Johnson.
For more information on MFU and NFU scholarship opportunities, visit www.mfu.org/scholarships. Questions? Contact me at 651-288-4066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.