Farm Progress

Four awards given in ag production and journalism.

Rod Swoboda 1, Editor, Wallaces Farmer

September 20, 2017

3 Min Read
WINNERS: Sydney Upah and her mom, Marlys, attend the recent fall meeting of the Iowa Master Farmer Association in Ames. Sydney, who grew up on the family farm near Tama, is one of four winners of scholarships provided by the Master Farmers and Wallaces Farmer.

Each year the Iowa Master Farmer Association and Wallaces Farmer sponsor four scholarships for Iowa State University students. Two are ag production scholarships in the College of Agriculture and two are journalism scholarships in the Greenlee School of Journalism.

The journalism scholarship winners for the 2017-18 school year are Hunter Smith of Van Wert and Sydney Upah of Tama. Production scholarship winners are Lillie Beringer of Cascade and Marc Throndson of New Hampton. The journalism scholarship is $1,250; the production scholarship is $1,000.

Journalism scholarship winners
Upah grew up on a farm in Tama County and is a senior majoring in journalism and mass communication. Through her coursework and writing for the Iowa State Daily student-run newspaper and the Happy Strong Healthy student-run magazine, she’s been able to enhance her writing skills at ISU. “I’m interested in a variety of different areas within journalism, including copy editing, photography, reporting and creative writing,” says Upah.

As a high school student, she set a goal for herself to graduate from college without any student loan debt. “It is with generous donations and scholarship help from organizations like yours that I am able to accomplish my goal,” says Upah, who will graduate in May. She is minoring in sociology. Upah has taken some ag courses at ISU, and her favorite was the beginning animal science course as a freshman.

Smith is a sophomore at ISU majoring in journalism and mass communication. She has worked at the campus radio station, including doing color commentary for basketball games. She’s also been an anchor for Newswatch, a news program for ISU TV. “These experiences have made me think about the many possibilities my major holds for me after I graduate from ISU,” says Smith. “Whatever journalism job I eventually enter into, it will involve being an advocate for agriculture, as the ag community has been a huge part of my life and my family’s, too.”

Smith, like the other winners, is involved in student organizations on campus. “Thank you for the scholarship, for investing in my education,” she recently wrote in a note to Wallaces Farmer.

Ag production scholarship winners
Beringer grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in northeast Iowa, and plans to return to the family farm upon graduation. After graduating from ISU in May with a major in animal science and minor in ag business, she will start a career as a beef nutrition sales specialist along with farming part-time with her father.

She currently owns 18 Angus cows and plans on expanding her herd each year. She has a five-year plan to buy land from her grandfather’s estate to continue farming with her father and making herself the third generation of Beringer Farms. “I love agriculture and farming,” she says. “Thank you for awarding me an Iowa Master Farmer Agricultural Production Scholarship.”

Throndson also has deep roots on a northeast Iowa farm where he grew up. The ISU senior says, “Thank you for choosing me as a recipient of your Wallaces Farmer Iowa Master Farmer Ag Production Scholarship. Your generosity is helping me finance my education and will help provide the start I need to achieve my career goals.”

His childhood and young-adult years were heavily influenced by the experience on his family’s farm near New Hampton. “We milk 75 cows and farm approximately 1,200 acres. My ag background has provided me a foundation for agriculture I have worked to expand at Iowa State,” he says.

Throndson’s career goals include earning a college degree, and starting a local-origin dairy farm in Iowa. “I’ve always wanted to return to dairy farming in Iowa,” he says. “Your scholarship is a big help, as I’m using these funds to help pay for my education and reduce the debt I graduate with, so I can achieve my plan of owning a dairy farm someday. I’m grateful to you for helping me pursue my dreams and accomplish my career and life goals.”

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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