Farm Progress

College ag students given $11,250 in scholarships

The Friends of the Fair, the service-oriented and fundraising arm of the Dixon May Fair, has presented a total of $11,250 in college scholarships to six Solano County residents majoring in an agricultural-related field.

June 1, 2018

7 Min Read
Six college scholarship winners received a total of $11,250 from the Friends of the Dixon May Fair in 2018, totaling $186,250 in college scholarships awarded since 2000. In front (from left) are Cameron Garlick of Dixon, Makala Hagan of Rio Vista, Mackenzie Davi of Dixon, Rebecca Luedke of Dixon, and Jillian Raycraft of Dixon. In back are Donnie Huffman of Vacaville, president of the Friends of the Fair, and Carrie Hamel of Dixon, scholarship chair. Not pictured is scholarship recipient Halie Pringle of Vacaville.Kathy Keatley Garvey/UC-Davis

It pays to major in agriculture.

The Friends of the Fair, the service-oriented and fundraising arm of the Dixon May Fair, has presented a total of $11,250 in college scholarships to six Solano County residents majoring in an agricultural-related field. 

Since its founding in 2000, the Friends have awarded $186,250 in scholarships, including this year’s awards. The organization raises funds primarily through the sale of beverages sold at the Dixon May Fair.

“We’re proud to help our college students,” said Donnie Huffman of Vacaville, president of the Friends of the Fair since 2000, told the crowd gathered at the end-of-the-year barbecue, held Wednesday, May 30 on the Dixon May Fair grounds.  “This was our 19th year at the fair and one of our best years.” At this year’s fair, May 10-13, the gross sales of beverages totaled $164,446. “This is where we get our money for scholarships,” Huffman said. “We also perform building and maintenance projects throughout the year, and award silver belt buckles to the top youth exhibitors—this year we gave away 50 belt buckles.”

Huffman and scholarship chair Carrie Hamel of Dixon, presented the scholarship awards. In the four-year college category, three students received a total of $7500, and in the two-year community college category, three students accepted a total of $3750.  Each also received a Dixon May Fair hat.

Jillian Raycraft of Dixon, a 2015 graduate of Dixon High School and a student at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo, a three-year scholarship recipient, again received the top award, the $3000 Ester Armstrong Scholarship. The scholarship memorializes a fair industry veteran who served as interim chief executive officer from 2006 to 2009.

Mackenzie Davi of Dixon, a senior at Dixon High School and soon-to-be student at California State University, Chico, received the newly created $2500 JoAn Giannoni Award. The annual award honors a Dixon resident who served as the long-time scholarship chair and secretary of Friends of the Fair; Giannoni also received the Dixon May Fair’s 2018 Blue Ribbon Award for her service.

Also in the four-year college category, Rebecca Luedke of Dixon, a 2013 graduate of Dixon High School and a student California State University, Chico, won the $2000 award.

Mikalya Hagan of Rio Vista, a senior at Rio Vista High School and a pending student at Solano Community College, won the Jack Hopkins Scholarship of $1,500, the top award in the two-year community college category.

Also in the two-year college category, Halie Pringle of Vacaville, a 2018 graduate Vacaville High School and a pending student at Solano Community College, won the $1250 award. Cameron Garlick of Dixon, a 2017 graduate of Dixon High School and a second-year student at Butte Community, Oroville, won the $1000 award.

Scored on experience

Hamel said the applicants were scored on personal, civic and academic experience; academic standing; personal commitment and established goals; leadership potential; civic accomplishments; chosen field in the areas of agriculture. All have experience in either 4-H, FFA or Grange—desired but not mandated. All applicants must be residents of Solano County and attend college in California. Depending on their scores, they can receive multi-year scholarships.

Jillian Raycraft, a 2015 graduate of Dixon High School, and a third-year student at Cal Poly, is studying agricultural production marketing at Cal Poly, plans a career in agriculture finance and policy.  She is a fourth generation of Raycrafts pursuing a career in agriculture. Growing up on the family harm has captured “most of my heart,” she wrote on her application. She learned to drive a tractor, work the crops, tend the irrigation system and rear animals. “As I spent my high school career heavily involved in my local FFA chapter, raising animals and farming my own four acres of field corn and oat hay seasonally, it has only further sparked my interest in pursuing a career in agricultural business,” she said.

“Agriculture is the reason why everyone is alive. It puts food on our table and clothes on our back. It even brings people together.”

MacKenzie Davi, who seeks a career as an agricultural teacher, is an active member of the Vaca Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville and served as a teen leader for multiple years for a swine project. She raises livestock for the Dixon May Fair, Solano County Fair and the California State Fair. ”I want to be able to help excel kids with their projects whether it’s livestock or farming,” Davi wrote in her application. “I’ve had experience with raising and showing swine, cattle, rabbits, poultry and horses.

Rebecca Luedke, who is majoring in animal science at Chico, aims to become an animal nutritionist. “I want to graduate with a degree in animal science and become an animal nutritionist and work in food processing,” she wrote on her application. “I have always had a love for animals ever since I was very young.”

Luedke was a longtime member of the Roving Clovers 4-H Club, Dixon. “I was able to raise many species of animals, from small animals like quail, rabbit and chickens to larger animals like sheep, goats and steers. 4-H really impacted my life and taught me so much, from being in different project groups and working with other people to learning about and working with many different animals.”

“In my future career as an animal nutritionists, I really hope to create new feed for all types of animals,” Luedke wrote. “I think I will focus on large animals like goats and sheep, but I want to be able to create a new and better feed that will help animals. My goal is to have affordable, effective feeds that are accessible to everyone.”

Mikalya Hagan plans a career as a large animal veterinary technician. “All my life I have loved being involved with animals, which has driven me to become a large animal veterinary technician.  A longtime member of the Rio Vista 4-H Club, she joined the youth organization in first grade. “My first animal project was to raise two market goats for the Dixon May Fair.

“I have continued to show animals up until the present. In that time, I have raised honey bees and  have shown market steers, market chickens, roaster ducks, market turkeys and many market and breeding meat goats, exhibiting several champion and reserve champion animals at both the  Dixon May Fair and Solano County Fair. She joined the Rio Vista FFA when she started high school and received several degrees, including the chapter degree and state farmer degree.  She plans to obtain her general education at Solano Community College and then transfer to Cosumnes River College, Sacramento, or Carrington College, Sacramento, for the veterinary technician  program.

Agribusiness goals

Halie Pringle, a senior at Vacaville High School, and a soon-to-be student at Solano Community College, plans a career in agricultural business/soil sciences.  She is active in both 4-H and FFA. “This will be my 13th year in 4-H and my fourth year in FFA,” she wrote in her application. “I have been part of many projects during my 13 years in 4-H. I have participated in dog care and training, poultry, foods and nutrition, meat goats, cake decorating swine, and the orphan kitten project. She is a past president of the Vaca Valley 4-H Club, a junior leader for three years and a teen leader for the past four years.

“4-H has helped me develop my passion for both agriculture and leadership and this is why I have chosen to pursue a career in agricultural business.”

Cameron Garlick, a 2017 graduate of Dion High School and a second year-student at Butte, plans to receive his bachelor’s degree in plant science and seeks a career as a plant crop advisor.  He is an alumnus of 4-H, FFA and Grange. He showed pigs and lambs at the Dion May Fair for eight years.

“Dixon has been a great place to grow u and my participation in sports, 4-H and FFA in this community have had a positive impact on my life,” he wrote in his application. “When I come home on college breaks, I try to give back to my community by volunteering in my mom’s kindergarten classroom at Anderson School.”

The scholarship committee, chaired by Hamel, also includes Tootie Huffman, Kathy Keatley Garvey and Linda Molina of Vacaville, and Marty Scrivens of Dixon.  Huffman serves a treasurer of the all-volunteer Friends of the Fair, and Scrivens as secretary. 

More information on the scholarship application rules is available on the Friends of the Fair site at The deadline to apply each year is March 1. Applicants are encouraged to enter early in the year.

Source: Friends of Dixon May Fair

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