Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awarded $57,000 in scholarships

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded over $57,000 in scholarships to students across the state. 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.

According to Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Board President Amy McCormick, the foundation has been unwavering in its commitment, placing an intentional focus on its mission to inspire and educate future leaders in agriculture. It’s a commitment that goes beyond mere words; it materializes in the form of financial support through scholarships, directly impacting the lives of students.

“The stories of these scholarship recipients aren’t just impressive — they’re a testament to the vibrant future of farming and food production,” McCormick said. “Every application we review showcases the dedication, ingenuity and leadership these students will bring to agricultural careers. It’s our privilege to support their growth and watch them blossom. This isn’t just investment; it’s an investment in the very fabric of Ohio’s thriving agriculture scene.

“Our scholarship programs are far more than a financial aid; they are a launching pad for young people passionate about agriculture to achieve their dreams,” she continued. “With every scholarship awarded, we’re not only recognizing academic and extracurricular excellence but also fueling the aspirations of those who will one day feed our state, our nation and our world.”

Bill and Helen Swank Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Abigail Garland of Butler 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.

Bruce and Carlene Patterson Agricultural Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Claire Phillip of Portage County; Halle Morehead of Portage County; and Harrison Blay of Portage County. This fund was established to provide scholarship support to deserving individuals in perpetuity, opening the door to education by removing the financial barriers that may keep someone from pursuing a career in agriculture or related fields and/or obtaining the training needed to grow their skills within the agricultural workforce.

Cindy Hollingshead Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Haven Hileman of Scioto County and Carrie Rhoades of Darke 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 Carrie Rhoades of Darke County; Gavin Eastep of Fairfield County; Marissa Shook of Darke County; and Sarah Hoak of Richland 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 inspired 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 Natalie Osswald of Preble 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; Darla Dorman of Licking County; Emma Core of Allen County; Emma Sutherly of Miami County; Erica Patterson of Preble County; Gracie Sprague of Ottawa County; Haven Hileman of Scioto County; Marissa Shook of Darke County; Ryan Culp of Logan 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 Molly Cordonnier of Lorain County; Garrett Schlechter of Lorain County; and Jillian Stannard of Lorain 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 and Garrett Houin of Holmes 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.

Lou Ann Putnam Harrold Memorial Scholarship Fund for Hardin County

The recipient of this scholarship is Jack Baumgartner of Hardin County. This fund was established in 2023 and provides scholarship support to deserving individuals in perpetuity, opening the door to education by removing the financial barriers that may keep someone from pursuing a career in agriculture or related fields and/or obtaining the training needed to grow their skill set within the agricultural workforce.

Mularcik Welding Scholarship for Summit County

The recipient of this award is Nicholas McDuffie 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 David Greene of Seneca County; Haven Hileman of Scioto County; Lily Wolf of Butler County; and Sarah Hoak of Richland 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 Harrison Blay of Portage County and Lily Swigert of Butler 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 Delaney Moore of Fairfield County and Jacob Lansing of Clinton County. This scholarship was established in 2020 by Richard Cocks, a chemical engineer who spent his career with Procter & Gamble. As he approached retirement, Mr. Cocks began investing in farmland. As he learned more about farming, it became apparent that today’s farmers have skills very similar to most engineers. This award recognizes students for academic effort, work ethic, community service and career interests that enhance Ohio agriculture.

Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Scholarship

Recipients of this scholarship are Carrie Rhoades of Darke County; Haven Hileman of Scioto County; and Julianne Headings of Madison County. This fund was established in honor of Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau 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.

As the foundation continues to pave the way for future generations, the opportunity exists to support its mission. Whether through donations, mentorship, or simply spreading the word, every action taken helps to cultivate a brighter future for agriculture and for Ohio.

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