The Pork Checkoff, Pioneer Hi-Bred and PIC have awarded 19 scholarships to college students to further develop participation in the pork industry’s future.

“Helping to develop the next generation of pork professionals is one of the issues the Pork Checkoff identified as critical for the industry to address,” explains Gene Nemechek, DVM, president of the National Pork Board from Springdale, AR. “Our service and obligation to producers includes ensuring that there is a sustainable source of capable people ready to take on the industry’s charge of producing a safe, wholesome food product in a socially responsible way.”

Nineteen recipients from across the United States represent 13 universities and eight swine-related fields of study:

  • Emily Arkfeld, Dunbar, NE, University of Nebraska, animal science.
  • Jon De Jong, Orange City, IA, South Dakota State University, animal science.
  • Jett Eder, Sharon Springs, KS, Oklahoma State University, pre-vet.
  • Devin Goehring, Lowell, WI, Kansas State University, animal science and industry.
  • Linsey Hays, Monroe City, MO, University of Central Missouri, animal science.
  • Justin Johnston, Morris, MN, University of Minnesota, animal science.
  • Sarah Jordan, Richmond, IN, Purdue University, agricultural economics/animal science.
  • McKenzie McAuliffe, Sterling, NE, University of Nebraska, pre-vet.
  • Kayla Meyer, Hinckley, IL, University of Illinois, agricultural education.
  • Erin Mohler, Charlotte Hall, MD, University of Missouri, animal science.
  • Ryan Oberbroeckling, Garnavillo, IA, Iowa State University, agricultural studies.
  • Warner Phipps, Kearney, NE, Cornell University, development sociology.
  • Anna Marie Samson, Three Forks, MT, Montana State University, animal science.
  • Lynsee Shaffer, Albany, IN, Purdue University, agricultural education/agricultural economics.
  • Courtney Smith, Michigantown, IN, Purdue University, animal science minor.
  • Joel Sparks, Cassopolis, MI, Michigan State University, animal science.
  • Ethan Spronk, Edgerton, MN, South Dakota State University, pre-vet.
  • Seth Spronk, Edgerton, MN, South Dakota State University, agricultural engineering.
  • Katie Weitekamp, Farmersville, IL, University of Illinois, animal science.

Top student Joel Sparks receives a $5,000 scholarship, and runner-up candidate Emily Arkfeld receives a $3,500 scholarship sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred. The other 17 students selected receive $2,000 each.

“A skilled workforce is essential for the competitiveness of this industry,” Nemechek says. “We need young leaders to look at pork not just as a food choice, but as a career. This is a chance for the industry to encourage these young people to join a workforce that offers many diverse opportunities. We have needs in production management, veterinary medicine, environmental management, food safety, genetic improvement, nutrition and much more.”

For more information on Pork Checkoff-funded programs, call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or go to www.pork.org.