Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc. (WCO) recently awarded two scholarships to students pursuing further education. These students were selected based on leadership, civic engagement, academics and volunteer activities related to agriculture. Students also submitted essays detailing their educational and vocational plans for the future. Scholarship winners are required to have ties to the WCO – either as a member, relative or employee of a member, or as a relative of a member-client. Students received a $1,000 scholarship.
“WCO understands that continued success of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy depends on a well-trained workforce,” said Joseph Sanford, chairman of the WCO Scholarship and Awards Committee and assistant professor in the School of Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville. “We also recognize that there are a growing number of training opportunities to fulfill this need, ranging from traditional college experiences to trade and apprenticeship programs.”
Paige Danzinger of Alma, Wis. received a $1,000 scholarship. She is a first-year student at Chippewa Valley Technical College majoring in animal science management. Paige was raised on her family’s 600-cow dairy farm and custom harvesting business, DS Farms, where she assists with feeding calves, herd health and driving tractor during harvest. Initially, Paige planned to pursue a career in the medical field, but after working as a Certified Nursing Assistant during high school, she found herself being called back to the farm. Paige enjoys working with animals and her educational background will help her reach her goal of eventually taking over the family dairy farm. DS Farms is long-time member of WCO.
Chloe Ertl of Stanley, Wis, also received a $1,000 scholarship. She is a second-year student at Northcentral Technical College majoring in agribusiness with a certificate in graphic design. Chloe discovered her passion for agriculture as a high school student when a scheduling error landed her in an ag class. From there, she joined FFA and pursued multiple leadership opportunities, ultimately setting her sights on a career in agriculture. In addition to her studies, Chloe is a marketing assistant at Swiderski Equipment in Thorpe, Wis. After college, she hopes to continue her career in agriculture marketing and eventually start her own direct-to-consumer beef farm. Swiderski Equipment is a corporate member and sponsor of WCO.
Applications for the 2023 WCO scholarship are due May 1. Interested students should visit https://wiscustomoperators.org/about/scholarships.php for more information including eligibility, criteria and application.
In 2023, three (3) awards will be given: Two (2) $1,000 scholarships and the $1,500 Robert Hoerth Memorial Scholarship.
To be eligible, applicants may have direct family ties to a current WCO member or to an employee of a WCO member. Applicants may also be a member themselves. In addition, A WCO member may nominate a scholarship applicant who does not meet the above criteria. For example, if a WCO member has a customer who has an exemplary son, daughter, or employee, they are eligible to apply.
New in 2023, the program has been expanded to include any post-secondary training program including traditional college experiences and career training programs such CDL truck driver training courses, pesticide applicator training program/exam, or other industry relevant training programs. Individuals on a non-academic post-secondary education path searching for career opportunity in the industry such as joining a harvest crew or other apprenticeship program, are also encouraged to apply.
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