Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative awarded $6,500 in scholarships to a fresh crop of students dedicated to pursuing careers in dairy. The co-op presented five $1,000 scholarships and three $500 scholarships to students selected based on their responses to essay questions, financial need, leadership activities and career aspirations.
The scholarship recipients include:
Todd Allen, Jefferson, Maryland, will be attending Virginia Tech this fall. Todd grew up on a third-generation dairy farm, Glen-Toctin Farm. He is involved as a junior member of the National and Maryland Holstein Conventions, and has placed nationally in 4-H judging contests. Todd finds laboratories and genetics particularly interesting and plans to pursue a career as a sire analyst, geneticist or Holstein classifier after college. He is eager to contribute to the dairy industry as a role model and expects to return to his family farm. Todd recognizes the power and value of social media. “With today’s substantial increase in technology, it is only logical that our communication methods follow the same path. I am an advocate for the use of social media as an effective way to reach out to the community, connect to my generation, and to promote the dairy industry,” he said.
Rayann Elizabeth Eaves, New Midway, Maryland, is a focused and driven freshman at the University of California-Davis. She was raised on a fifth-generation family dairy farm that also raises swine and alpacas. Rayann has national and local level competition experience showing animals, and is active in many academic and agricultural groups. She has demonstrated a passion and commitment to animals and sciences, and to her dairy farm roots. “I feel that my family heritage and involvement in agriculture has not only instilled strong work ethics but also has opened many doors of opportunity for me. My love for animals quickly grew into a love for the sciences.” She works part-time at the UC Davis Dairy, which helped her feel at home after moving across the country, while she learned about their herd and new management practices, as well as calf care and cow wellness. Rayann plans to pursue a veterinary degree and large animal veterinary practice or research in the future.
Katelyn Allen, Jefferson, Maryland attends Virginia Tech, majoring in Dairy Science. She was among 75 students selected to participate in the National FFA International Leadership Seminar for State Officers to go to South Africa. However, it was her experience as Frederick Cultivating Dairy Goodness Since 1920 1985 Isaac Newton Square West Suite 200, Reston, VA 20190-5094 phone 703-742-6800 · fax 757-952-2370 · www.mdvamilk.com County Dairy Princess that put her out working with the community and promoting dairy farming and the values of milk. Focusing her interests into agricultural education, she is combining her knowledge and experience of animals and dairy farming with her passion for writing, and working with people into career goals for improving farm operations and consumer-producer relations. “I believe that the biggest issue the dairy industry and all of agriculture is currently facing is a lack of trust and understanding from consumers. If we, as agriculturalists, can help bridge that gap to help connect the public with their food source, the dairy industry will have a strong consumer base and a bright future.”
Isabelle Leonard, Spottswood, Virginia, just completed her freshman year at Cornell University. Isabelle grew up on her family’s 115-cow dairy farm, and as the State Reporter for the Virginia FFA association, she has served as an ambassador for agriculture, agricultural education and shared the American farming experience as she travels throughout Europe as part of her responsibilities. Isabelle has traveled in Europe and Southeast Asia and credits these experiences with shaping her career goals in international marketing and agribusiness. “The entire agriculture industry, including the dairy industry, has gone global in recent years. Our milk price is affected by imports from China, exports from New Zealand, EU policies, and so many other international factors. As our economy increases to expand internationally, the American dairy industry will need advocates to protect our interests. I hope to be a voice for American dairy farmers in the global dairy market.”
Lindsay Smith, Colora, Maryland, attends Delaware Valley University and is pursuing a career in Animal Science and Agribusiness. Lindsay grew up on a farm and works for Kilby Cream where she has learned pasteurization, milk bottling and even making ice cream base and ice cream flavors. Working in both the dairy and food industry gives her unique perspective on consumer trends. Lindsay is eager to be involved in the dairy industry as a voice for farmers and promoting dairy goodness. She has also been a leader and competitor within Maryland 4-H, where she excelled in showing livestock on the local to national levels. Lindsay wants to work as an animal nutritionist specializing in calf development. “My goal is to leverage my knowledge and education to assist farmers with their feeding techniques in order to improve their yields and quality of product,” she said.
Hannah Hunsberger, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, is a junior at Penn State University pursuing a degree in Plant Science. Although she grew up on her parents’ farm, Hannah cites a church trip to Haiti that influenced her career focus and cemented her appreciation for American agriculture. Hannah plans to use her degree in plant sciences to support the work on her family farm, as well as contributing to the international agricultural community. “Crop production will only grow in importance in the coming years,” she said. “The production of forages, grains and legumes are vital to a cow’s diet, influencing the quantity and quality of her milk production. What a farmer can produce per acre of cropland has a large impact on their business.” Hannah recognizes that she has an opportunity to share her talents, work in the field that she is passionate about, and make a real difference in the lives of farmers here in the U.S., and abroad.
Shelby Iager, Frederick, Maryland, is a freshman at Virginia Tech studying Dairy Science and Agro-Business. Already involved in Virginia Tech’s Dairy Club and Block and Bridle, Shelby was Secretary and Vice President of the Linganore FFA Chapter. She is passionate about the dairy industry, and she has a specific desire to ensure the industry has a economically viable future. “I want to make a positive impact on the dairy industry to find economic tactics to give back to our hard working men and women on farms, like the one I grew up on,” she said.
Catherine Savage, Dickerson, Maryland, is a freshman at Virginia Tech in Dairy Science and Agribusiness. She has been very active in the Maryland and National Holstein Association as well as the Maryland state and National Jersey Association, 4-H and Collegiate Young Farmers. Catherine notes that one of her most influential experiences was attending the National Jersey Youth Academy, where she was able to learn more about various industry fields and career options. She acknowledged the disconnect between the agriculture community and the non-ag contingent, and how important it is to educate people on the value of farms, farming, and how food is produced. “It’s important to build relationships with the public and expose them to the agriculture community,” she said. “Through community supported agriculture, the consumer has a chance to contribute to the crop by paying for a portion of the land and receiving some of the crop in return at the end of the harvest season.”
The scholarships are made possible thanks to generous donations from members, staff and industry partners. To be eligible for a Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers scholarship, students must be the son, daughter or employee of a current co-op member or the son or daughter of a Maryland & Virginia employee and attending an accredited college or university. Applications are made available in November of each year and are due in mid-February. For more information, please contact Daniela Roland at 800-552-1976 extension 449.
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative is a community of dairy farm families passionate about cultivating dairy goodness. Founded in 1920, the cooperative’s farmers produce more than three billion pounds of milk a year for consumers and manufacturers worldwide. Our dairy farm families take pride in creating dairy products people crave, operating with passion and integrity, responsibly caring for our resources and providing a rewarding livelihood for our farmers and employees.
Student photos available upon request.