The National Pork Board has awarded 18 scholarships to college students around the United States as part of its strategy to develop the pork industry's human capital for the future. The scholarship winners were selected from a pool of 21 applicants based on scholastic merit, leadership activities, pork production industry involvement and future pork production career plans.
"Helping develop the next generation of pork professionals is one of the top issues that the Pork Checkoff has identified as critical for the industry's future," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and aproducer from Montgomery, Minn. "Our ongoing service and obligation to producers includes ensuring that there is a sustainable source of young people
ready to take on the industry's charge of producing safe, wholesome pork in a socially responsible way."
The 18 student recipients represent 12 states, 10 universities and 13 swine-related career paths. The 2014 Pork Industry Scholarship recipients are:
|Recipient||Home Town||Institution||Career Path|
|Dustin Compart||Nicollet, Minn.||South Dakota State University||Animal Science|
|Jake Erceg||Talent, Ore.||Kansas State University||Swine Nutrition|
|Matt Kerns||Clearfield, Iowa||Iowa State University||Business|
|Alyssa Clements||Livingston, Tenn.||University of Tennessee||Animal Nutrition|
|Molly Frank||Dexter, Minn.||Iowa State University||Production|
|Jared Mumm||Kimberly, Idaho||Kansas State University||Behavior/Reproduction|
|Haley Gilleland||Fitzgerald, Ga.||University of Georgia||Animal Science|
|Kiah Gourley||Philomath, Ore.||Kansas State University||Swine Nutrition|
|Evan Koep||Lakefield, Minn.||South Dakota State University||Immunology|
|Jordan Bjustrom||Clarksville, Iowa||Iowa State University||Swine Health|
|Ashalynn Bilton-Smith||Centralia, Wash.||Washington State University||Veterinary Medicine|
|Caitlin Hupp||Cedar Rapids, Neb.||South Dakota State University||Production|
|Lauren Honegger||Forrest. Ill.||University of Illinois||Swine Nutrition|
|Austin Bailey||Curryville, Mo.||University of Missouri||Agriculture Education|
|Shelby Englert||Logansport, Ind.||Purdue University||Sales and Marketing|
|Cathy Bernhard||Batavia, Ill.||University of Illinois||Applied Swine Research|
|Emily Scholtz||Comfrey, Minn.||South Dakota State University||Production|
|Wes Darcy||Forked River, N.J.||Rutgers University||Veterinary Medicine|
This year's top candidates were Dustin Compart, Jake Erceg and Matt Kerns, who will each receive a $5,000 scholarship. Compart, a junior at South Dakota State University from Nicollet, Minn., plans to eventually join his family's farm, selling seedstock and branded product direct to restaurants. Erceg, a junior at Kansas State University who is from Talent, Ore., hopes to pursue a Master of Science degree in swine nutrition after completing his undergraduate degree. Kerns, a junior at Iowa State University from Clearfield, Iowa, plans to obtain his Masters of Business Administration and focus on the business side of pork production. The other 15 applicants will each be awarded $2,000.
"A skilled workforce is essential for the competitiveness of this industry," Richter said. "The scholarship awards help encourage these young people to pursue a career that offers many diverse opportunities. On behalf of the Pork Checkoff and its partners, we congratulate this year's Pork Industry Scholarship recipients."