Monroe County Farm Bureau has awarded three $750 scholarships to local students aspiring to careers in agriculture.  The Selection Committee met on May 29 to determine this year’s winners.  Recipients of the awards can use the funds to attend college, trade school, or apprenticeship programs that support the agricultural industry.

“These students are the future of the agriculture industry of Monroe County, and we consider these scholarships to be an investment in the future of our community,” said Mark Mathe, President of the Monroe County Farm Bureau.  “Their achievements will impact the future success of farms and agri-businesses in our area.”

The 2020 winner of the Betty Bliss Scholarship is Colten Aikens of Monroe.  It is named for long-time County Office Administrator Betty Bliss, and has been presented annually since 1988.  Colten is attending Michigan State University studying Agribusiness Management and Crop and Soil Sciences.  The son of Mike and Rachel Jaworski, he is a Dundee High School graduate and was active in 4-H and FFA.  At MSU, he serves as chairman of the AGR Beef Preview Show and works with Alpha Gamma Rho charitable philanthropies.  He is currently in an internship with the Public Policy Division of Michigan Farm Bureau, where he aspires to work upon graduation.  He also plans to return home and continue to work the family farm.

The Dale Lynn Mason Scholarship, which honors long-time secretary Dale Lynn Mason who served the bureau for over 28 years, was awarded to Grace Herkimer of Monroe.  Grace is a student in the MSU Agricultural Operations program, housed on the campus of Monroe County Community College.  She also plans to transfer to MSU after earning her Associate’s Degree.  A graduate of Ida High School, Grace is the daughter of Jerry and Carol Herkimer and plans to remain in the agricultural industry after graduation, possibly in animal research, production, or nutrition.  In high school, she was an active member of the Ida Trap Team, 4-H Dog Program, and Junior Livestock Association, and volunteers her time with Ida United Methodist Church.

Finally, the third scholarship awarded this year is the Young Farmer Memorial Scholarship.  The oldest scholarship awarded by the bureau, it was renamed six years ago as a tribute to the Young Farmers of our group whose lives were cut short before reaching their full potential.  The scholarship was presented this year to Bethoney DeSilvis of Carleton.  She is a graduate of Jefferson High School and is also a student in the MSU ag program at Monroe County Community College.  Bethoney is studying Agricultural Technology, and plans to transfer to Michigan State University for Environmental Engineering.  The daughter of John and Deborah Gross, she was involved in the Key Club and Pom & Dance Team at Jefferson, and is now active in Collegiate Farm Bureau at MCCC.  Bethoney was one of the Collegiate Discussion Meet participants from MCCC at the Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting last December.

Winners are eligible to compete in all years of school against new applicants, provided they continue their studies in an agriculture-related field.  Since 1988, Monroe County Farm Bureau has invested over $40,000 in the future agricultural leaders of our community!  Other candidates vying for scholarships this year were Katlyn Taylor of Ottawa Lake, Mariah Gullette of Erie, and Madison Bank of Carleton.  We wish everyone who competed for these awards the best of luck as they continue their studies.  They are truly the future of agriculture in Monroe County!