Wisconsin Custom Operators Inc. recently awarded two scholarships to students pursuing further education. These students were selected based on leadership, civic engagement, academics and volunteer activities related to agriculture. Students also submitted essays detailing their educational and vocational plans. Scholarship winners are required to have ties to WCO, either as a member, relative of a member or employee of a member. Each student received a $1,000 scholarship.
“WCO understands that the foundation for the continued success of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy depends on a well-educated workforce,” says Kevin Shinners, chairman of the WCO Scholarship Committee and a professor of biological systems engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We also recognize that the high cost of additional education can impact this need.”
Winners of the 2019 WCO scholarships are:
- Tyler Cross, Poynette, Wis., is a first-year student in the Farm and Industry Short Course program at UW-Madison. He is an employee of WCO member D&J Manthe Chopping Service.
- Racheal Osterhaus, Chadwick, Ill., is a junior at UW-Platteville, majoring in animal science with a minor in biology. She is the daughter of WCO member Silver Streak Ag Services.
Applications for the 2020 WCO scholarships are being accepted through May 1. Interested students should visit wiscustomoperators.org for more information, including eligibility, criteria and the application.
There are two significant shifts to the program for 2020: First, the scholarship committee created the Robert Hoerth Memorial Scholarship to honor the WCO past president who died unexpectedly earlier this year. This $1,500 award will be given to the most deserving scholarship applicant based on his or her alignment to the overall criteria. In addition to this award, two $1,000 scholarships will be given for a total of three awards.
The second shift in the program is for eligibility. As in years past, applicants may have direct family ties to a current WCO member or to an employee of a WCO member. Applicants may also be a member themselves. New for 2020, a WCO member may sponsor a scholarship applicant who does not meet the aforementioned criteria. For example, if a WCO member has a customer who has an exemplary son, daughter or employee, that student would be eligible to apply.