Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awards nearly $60,000 in scholarships

 Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded nearly $60,000 in scholarships to students across the state.

According to Jenny Cox, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation board president, the foundation has put intentional focus on its purpose and its work, and scholarship awards directly impact that purpose: to inspire and educate the next generation of agriculture.

“One in eight jobs in Ohio are related to food and agriculture. As the demands for employees to fill these roles increase, we want to do our part to cultivate the next generation of workers to grow their careers in agriculture. The opportunity to work with and get to know some of these young people and learn about all of their accomplishments and activities through reviewing scholarship applications is incredibly rewarding. The stories and successes of these young people confirm to me that the future of agriculture is bright.”

Annually, the foundation recognizes Ohio students for their academic effort, community engagement and career interests that link agriculture to community service, education or scientific research.

Bill and Helen Swank Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Haven Hileman of Scioto County and Sarah Hoak of Richland County. Over the course of his 40-year career with Farm Bureau, Dr. C. William (Bill) Swank enriched countless lives in the farm and food community. This fund honors the legacies of Bill and his wife, Helen, with a scholarship for the next generation of agricultural leaders.

Cindy Hollingshead Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Dalton Mullins of Fayette County; Halle Miller of Wayne County; Haven Hileman of Scioto County; Lauren Mellott of Richland County; and Ryanna Tietje of Wood County. This fund honors Cynthia Anne (Cindy) Hollingshead for her 39 years of service as Ohio Farm Bureau’s executive secretary, as well as a lifetime of volunteer commitment to local government and community service activities. Financial assistance goes to students who are pursuing careers focused on agriculture, community service and association leadership.

Darwin Bryan Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Amber Zimpfer of Shelby County; Haven Hileman of Scioto County; and Ryanna Tietje of Wood County. This fund was established in 1985 in honor of Darwin R. Bryan whose enthusiastic leadership during his 37 years of service to Ohio Farm Bureau has been an inspiration to rural youth throughout Ohio. The fund assists students who have been active in Farm Bureau’s youth program and/or whose parents are Farm Bureau members.

Dr. David A. Benfield Scholarship

The recipient of this scholarship is Emma Leggett of Tuscarawas County. The Dr. David A. Benfield Scholarship fund was established in 2019 by colleagues and friends of Dr. Benfield to honor his 17-year career as associate director of OARDC and associate vice president and director of the Wooster Campus in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and his passion for agricultural education and research. The scholarship is specifically for students in livestock and crop sciences at ATI.

Jack Fisher Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Adeline Kendle of Tuscarawas County; Anya Demshar of Lake County; Brady Jacobs Bell of Muskingum County; Dalton Mullins of Fayette County; Haven Hileman of Scioto County; Kiley Holbrook of Fairfield County; Luke Jennings of Clermont County; Raegan Feldner of Noble County; Ryanna Tietje of Wood County; and Sarah Hoak of Richland County. This fund is named after John C. “Jack” Fisher, who served as Ohio Farm Bureau’s executive vice president for 20 years. His vision for this scholarship is to enable people to acquire the necessary tools for a more fulfilling life.

Joseph Kelly Memorial Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Isaiah Allen of Lorain County; Joel Polen of Lorain County; and Molly Cordonnier of Ashland County. This scholarship was established in 2018 to honor the life of Joseph Kelly and to continue his legacy of generosity and service. The Joseph Kelly Memorial Scholarship is an annual, merit-based competition that focuses on rewarding students pursuing degrees related to agriculture.

Kenny Walter Scholarship Fund

Recipients of this scholarship are Adeline Kendle of Tuscarawas County; Garrett Houin of Holmes County; and Halle Miller of Wayne County. The fund provides scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary education in agriculture who come from the 29 northeastern counties Walter served as an Ohio Farm Bureau regional supervisor and organization director.

Mularcik Welding Scholarship for Summit County

The recipient of this award is Dominic Wyne of Summit County. This scholarship was established in 2023 by Brad Mularcik after he became aware of the skills gap in America and the need for more young people to enter the skilled trades, particularly welding. By offering this scholarship, he wishes to help young people of Summit County, Ohio who are seeking a career in welding.

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Scholar Award

Recipients of this award are Brandon Zuercher of Hancock County; Dalton Mullins of Fayette County; Joseph Laborie of Wood County; Marissa Shook of Darke County; and Zane Ortman of Perry County. This award recognizes students for academic effort, community service and career interests that use agriculture to enhance the partnership between producers and consumers in rural, suburban and/or urban settings.

The Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Emma Core of Allen County and Morgan Moon of Erie County. The Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is a nonprofit trade association representing 2,500 thoroughbred owners and trainers who race at Ohio’s three commercial thoroughbred race tracks. The objective of the scholarship fund is to assist students who plan to pursue careers focusing on food or agriculture.

Richard and Carole Cocks Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Carrie Rhoades of Darke County; Raegan Feldner of Noble County; and Ruth Beery of Ross County. This scholarship is intended to help students pursuing a career in agriculture who reside in rural Ohio. Scholarships are awarded annually to deserving students from select rural Ohio counties. Each scholarship award is renewable for up to four years.

Women’s Leadership in Agriculture Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Haven Hileman of Scioto County, Morgan Moon of Erie County; and Ryanna Tietje of Wood County. This scholarship is for students who have chosen a career path that benefits agricultural or community development such as food production, scientific research, education/outreach or leadership development. The program was established by an endowment from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee.

Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Carrie Rhoades of Darke County and Haven Hileman of Scioto County. This fund was established in honor of Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau’s vice president of public policy, who passed away in 2020, to provide support for the next generation of student leaders. The income from this endowment will provide scholarship assistance in perpetuity to students majoring in agricultural and environmental policy or agriculture-related fields, such as food production, scientific research, education/outreach, policymaking, advocacy, or leadership development for women.

 The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501(c) (3) charitable, nonprofit organization, understands the need to inspire innovation and cultivate investment in Ohio’s farm and food community. Learn more by visiting ofbf.org/foundation.

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