Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Awards Record Amount of Scholarships – Ohio Ag Net

Ohio Agricultural Bureau Foundation recently awarded nearly $85,000 in scholarships to students across the state, the highest amount awarded in a single year.

According to Tara Durbin, chair of the board of directors of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation and director of agricultural loans at Farm Credit Mid-America, the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation has intentionally emphasized its aim to create more clarity and awareness around what the foundation is, and the work it is committed to.

“Our goal is to inspire and educate the next generation of agriculture professionals through scholarships, innovative programs and grants. We are in a strong position to take the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation to the next level, creating greater awareness of careers in agriculture and the success of the next generation of agricultural professionals,” said Durbin. “The record amount of scholarships awarded this year is a true testament to the continued dedication and hard work of our Board of Directors, donors and volunteers.

Each year, the foundation recognizes Ohio students for their academic efforts, community involvement, and professional interests that link agriculture with community service, education, or scientific research.

Bill and Helen Swank Scholarship

The recipients of this scholarship are Bethany Starlin from Hocking County and Caleb Durheim from Delaware County. During his 40-year career with the Farm Bureau, Dr. C. William (Bill) Swank has enriched countless lives in the agriculture and food community. This fund honors the legacy of Bill and his wife, Helen, with a scholarship for the next generation of agricultural leaders.

Cindy Hollingshead Scholarship

The recipients of this scholarship are Bethany Starlin from Hocking County, Caleb Durheim from Delaware County, Haven Hileman from Scioto County, Lauren Mellott from Richland County, and Luke Spracklen from Clark County. This fund honors Cynthia Anne (Cindy) Hollingshead for her 39 years of service as Executive Secretary of the Ohio Farm Bureau, as well as a lifetime of volunteer involvement in local government and community service activities. Financial aid is awarded to students pursuing careers focused on agriculture, community service, and association leadership.

Darwin Bryan Scholarship

The recipients of this scholarship are Aubrey Speakman from Fairfield County, Caleb Durheim from Delaware County, Carrie Rhoades from Darke County, Haven Hileman from Scioto County, Lauren Wuebker from Darke County, and Raegan Feldner from Noble County. This fund was established in 1985 in honor of Darwin R. Bryan whose enthusiastic leadership during his 37 years of service to the Ohio Farm Bureau has been an inspiration to rural youth throughout Ohio . The fund helps students who have been active in the Farm Bureau youth program and/or whose parents are Farm Bureau members.

Dr. David A. Benfield Fellowship

The recipients of this scholarship are Alexis Montgomery from Lewis County, West Virginia and Emma Leggett from Tuscarawas 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 the OARDC and Associate Vice President and Director of the Wooster campus of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and his passion for agricultural education and research. The scholarship is specifically for Livestock and Crop Science students at ATI.

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Scholar Award

The recipients of this award are Brandon Zuercher from Hancock County, Caleb Durheim from Delaware County, Carmen Corcoran from Ross County, Carrie Rhoades from Darke County, Emma Sutherly from Miami County, Halle Miller from Wayne County, Jacob Stiltner of Defiance County, Kadence Carroll of Fulton County, Kiley Holbrook of Fairfield County, Lauren Mellott of Richland County, Morgan Shupert of Adams County, Raegan Feldner of Noble County and Ryanna Tietje of Wood County. This award recognizes students for their academic efforts, community service, and professional interests that use agriculture to improve the partnership between producers and consumers in rural, suburban, and/or urban settings.

Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Scholarship

The recipients of this scholarship are Ashley Tate from Holmes County and Katelynn Smeltzer from Ashland County. The Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is a non-profit trade association representing 2,500 Thoroughbred owners and trainers who race at Ohio’s three commercial Thoroughbred race tracks. The goal of the scholarship fund is to help students who plan to pursue careers focused on food or agriculture.

Jack Fisher Scholarship

The recipients of this scholarship are Anna Lowers from Noble County, Anya Demshar from Lake County, Caleb Durheim from Delaware County, Carrie Rhoades from Darke County, Conner Johnson from Franklin County, Dawson Osborn from Highland County, Halle Miller of Wayne County, Haven Hileman of Scioto County, Jacob Stiltner of Defiance County, Kiley Holbrook of Fairfield County, Luke Jennings of Clermont County, Noah Smith of Fairfield County, Raegan Feldner of Noble County and Ryanna Tietje of Wood County. This scholarship is named after John C. “Jack” Fisher, who served as Executive Vice President of the Ohio Farm Bureau for 20 years. Her vision for this scholarship is to empower people with the tools necessary for a more fulfilling life.

Joseph Kelly Memorial Scholarship

The recipients of this scholarship are Clayton Kowalski from Lorain County, Elena Runion from Lorain County and Noah Galloway from Erie County. This scholarship was established in 2018 to honor the life of Joseph Kelly and continue his legacy of generosity and service. The Joseph Kelly Memorial Scholarship is an annual merit-based competition to reward students pursuing agriculture-related studies.

Kenny Walter Scholarship Fund

The recipients of this scholarship are Anya Demshar from Lake County, Ashley Tate from Holmes County and Kaitlyn Praisler from Wayne County. The fund provides scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary studies in agriculture from the 29 northeastern counties. Walter served as the Ohio Farm Bureau’s regional supervisor and organizational director.

Richard and Carole Cocks Scholarship

The recipients of this scholarship are Haven Hileman from Scioto County and Micah Dawson from Huron County. This scholarship is intended to assist students pursuing a career in agriculture who reside in rural Ohio. Scholarships are awarded annually to deserving students from selected rural Ohio counties. Each fellowship is renewable for up to four years.

Women in Agriculture Leadership Fellowship

The recipients of this scholarship are Abigail Schwartz from Auglaize County, Alyssa Swick from Fairfield County, Bethany Starlin from Hocking County, Halle Miller from Wayne County, Haven Hileman from Scioto County, Lauren Mellott from Richland County, Regan Draeger from Sandusky County, Ruth Beery from Ross County and Shelby Carrico from Pike County. This scholarship is for students who have chosen a career path that benefits agricultural or community development, such as food production, scientific research, education/outreach, or leadership development. The program was created by an endowment from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee.

Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Scholarship

The recipients of this scholarship are Halle Miller from Wayne County, Haven Hileman from Scioto County and Lauren Mellott from Richland County. This fund was established in honor of Yvonne Lesicko, Vice President of Public Policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau, who passed away in 2020, to provide support for the next generation of student leaders. Proceeds from this endowment will provide a lifelong scholarship to students majoring in agricultural and environmental policy or agriculture-related fields, such as food production, scientific research, education/outreach , policy development, advocacy or leadership development for women.

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