Vita Plus Loyal is proud to introduce seven local high school seniors as recipients of the 2012 "Our Future is Agriculture" scholarships. This program recognizes deserving students with long-term career interests in agriculture. Students must plan to enroll in an accredited vocational/technical institute, community college or four-year college or university that offers an academic major in a field related to agriculture. The $500 scholarships may be applied toward tuition, room and board, or other expenses. This year's recipients are Ashley Hemann, Greenwood High School; Kelsey Kuehnhold, Marshfield High School; Derrick Lehman, Spencer High School; Cyrus Nigon, Greenwood High School; Samuel Nigon, Spencer High School; Brandi Timmler, Loyal High School; and Aaron Zimmerman, Spencer High School.
Ashley Hemann, Greenwood, is the daughter of Karen Hemann. She is involved in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and serves as president of the Greenwood FFA Chapter. An active 4-H member, she exhibits beef cattle at all levels of competition and also owns her own cake decorating business. This fall, she plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to major in agriculture studies. After college, Hemann hopes to work as a herdsperson at a large dairy or become a feed consultant. "Farming is what makes me get up in the morning," Hemann said. "I've lived in the barn all my live watching my parents work hard and have seen the benefits of farming and its impact on our life."
Kelsey Kuehnhold, Marshfield, is the daughter of Dennis and Carol Kuehnhold. An active high school student, she is a member of the swim, softball, and volleyball teams, band, and student council. She is also a member of FFA, serving as chapter president this year and competing in the national parliamentary procedure Career Development Event (CDE) this past October. In the fall, Kuehnhold
will attend UW-River Falls to study animal science with intentions of being involved on the swim team and working on the lab farm there. After graduation, she plans to become a veterinarian, specializing in sheep medicine. "Once I receive my veterinarian degree, I hope to open my own vet clinic in Wood County," commented Kuehnhold.
Derrick Lehman, Spencer, is the son of Doug and Lisa Lehman. He is involved in FFA, choir, history club and the football team. A hard worker, he has been employed at a number of dairy farms as well as raising crops on his family's land. That work led to him being awarded first place in the state for his Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) in grain production-entrepreneurship. He is also a member of 4-H, where he has represented Wisconsin at national shooting sports events in Nebraska and Texas. Lehman is also a member of the Christ the King parish. He plans to attend UW-River Falls to major in agricultural studies. "We need to continue to build new and improved methods that coincide with conserving energy; yet protect our environment," Lehman said.
Cyrus Nigon, Greenwood, is the son of Martin and Kathleen Nigon. He is involved with a number of activities including FFA, student council, band, National Honor Society (NHS), and a four-year member of the football and baseball teams. Nigon is the Class of 2012 valedictorian and was also an all-conference member of the state champion Greenwood/Granton football team. He is a member of the Greenwood Satellites 4-H Club and St. Mary's Church. He is involved in a variety of agricultural operations, including dairy, beef, ginseng, field crops and maple syrup. This fall, he will attend UW-Madison to study biological systems engineering. Eventually, he would like to work in the designing and manufacturing agricultural machinery. "With increased technology in the agricultural industry, farmers can do more work in less time and at a lower cost," said Nigon. "I believe that with my passion for agriculture and my other aptitudes, I can succeed in engineering products that benefit farmers most."
Samuel Nigon, Spencer, is the son of Steve and Annah Nigon. He is a member of FFA and the wrestling and football teams. In addition, Nigon is a member of the Christ the King Catholic Church and works with the youth football and wrestling programs in Spencer. He is employed at local dairy farms and does custom hay baling for a number of farmers. He plans to attend Lakeshore Technical College to study dairy herd management. One day, he hopes to own his own dairy farm milking high producing, quality animals. "My family comes from a long line of farmers and I hope I can continue in their footsteps," said Nigon.
Brandi Timmler, Loyal, is the daughter of Mike and Cheryl Timmler. She is a member of FFA, NHS, flag corps and the softball team. She also has been a teaching assistant at Loyal Elementary School and teaches Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. An active member of 4-H, she has shown dairy cattle for nine years. In the fall, she will attend UW-River Falls where she will pursue a degree in animal science with a veterinary technician emphasis. "Living in a strong agriculture town has played an important part in deciding my future," said Timmler. "I've come to realize that wherever I go in life, my background will always be in agriculture."
Aaron Zimmerman, Spencer, is the son of Mark and Cheryl Zimmerman. He is active in NHS, band and FFA, and served as the FFA chapter president this year. Zimmerman is also active in the Wisconsin Junior Simmental Association board of directors and involved in 4-H meats and livestock judging. In 2010, he was a member of the national champion beef skillathon team. Zimmerman operates his own video and graphic design business as well as owning his own herd of Simmentals. In the fall, he will attend UW-Madison or UW-River Falls to study animal science with a meat animal emphasis. He hopes to one day work in animal genetics. "I am very passionate about advocating for agriculture and the livestock industry," explained Zimmerman. "My future career goals will really give me the chance to make an impact on many people."
Vita Plus Loyal recognizes that supporting students in their pursuit of agricultural careers is essential to developing the next generation of leaders and innovators in the agriculture industry. Vita Plus Loyal General Manager John Every said, "The employee owners at Vita Plus are proud to support today's youth as they work toward careers in agriculture. We look forward to their future achievements as they help to provide consumers with a safe, wholesome and abundant food supply."