Heartland youth receive Farmers Union scholarships


South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation recently awarded $500 scholarships to youth from five rural South Dakota communities.  

“Youth are our future. These scholarships are among the ways Farmers Union can support rural youth as they pursue the education necessary to keep South Dakota’s agriculture and rural economy strong and moving forward,” said Karla Hofhenke, Executive Director of South Dakota Farmers Union. “When I look at these youth and their future career plans, I believe the future of agriculture in South Dakota is bright.”

Youth receiving scholarships are Holden Hegg, Huron; Abby Kolousek, Wessington Springs; Garrett Kruger, De Smet; Carissa Scheel, Wessington Springs; and Hayden Schroeder, Alexandria.

Scholarship recipients were selected through an application process.

“I am impressed by the dedication these youth apply to their schoolwork as well as extra-curricular activities in their rural communities through participation in organizations like 4-H and FFA. These students are prepared for success in college,” said Samantha Olson, Education Program Specialist for South Dakota Farmers Union. “These youth understand that in addition to farmers and ranchers, South Dakota’s agriculture industry needs professionals with degrees in engineering, business and communications as well.”

Meet the Scholarship Recipients:

Holden Hegg, Huron

Education Plans: Attend South Dakota State University and major in mechanical engineering

Career aspiration: I grew up running equipment and raising cattle on my family’s farm. I have always been passionate about our operation and love working on the mechanical side of things. I plan on tying my mechanical engineering degree with my roots in farming. Mechanical engineers play a crucial role in developing and improving agricultural technology. I plan to use my degree to enhance the ag industry in rural South Dakota.

Impact of Farmers Union: I grew up attending Farmers Union summer day camps. To this day, I remember the safety courses and videos that taught me about farm safety.

Abby Kolousek, Wessington Springs

Education Plans: Plans to pursue a degree in marketing

Career aspiration: This year I had the opportunity to organize a horse playday for all ages. In addition to signing up volunteers and asking businesses for donations, I also did the marketing for this event.

Through this and other experiences, I understand that marketing is a skill needed in rural communities throughout South Dakota.

Impact of Farmers Union: Farmers Union has given me opportunities to travel and see different parts of the country, and the organization has also given me friendships that will last a lifetime.

Garrett Kruger, De Smet

Education Plans: Currently studying to become an HVAC/R technician at Western Dakota Technical College

Career aspiration: Rural communities are facing a shortage of HVAC/R professionals. I am eager to begin this career because I will have the opportunity to work on multiple projects and have a positive impact on those I work for.

Impact of Farmers Union: Being involved in Farmers Union has taught me the importance of teamwork and communications and improved my skills in these areas.

Hayden Schroeder, Alexandria

Education Plans: Attend South Dakota State University and major in agricultural business and agronomy

Career aspiration: I have been involved in my family farm my entire life and I want to continue my passion working in the agriculture industry as an agronomist, ag banker or in ag marketing, while also farming with my dad and grandpa.

Impact of Farmers Union: Attending Farmers Union camp increased my understanding of the agricultural industry and expanded my leadership skills.

Carissa Scheel, Wessington Springs

Education Plans: Pursue a degree in veterinary medicine

Career aspiration: After becoming a veterinarian, I plan to move back to Wessington Springs and work to help the local agriculture economy by helping ensure animals maintain their health and well-being.

Impact of Farmers Union: I learned about soil health and working with youth when I worked with members of our FFA chapter to host Wessington Springs Farmers Union Day. I serve as Chapter President and I and other members of our chapter put on a presentation about soil erosion.

To learn more about South Dakota Farmers Union educational programming and summer camps, visit www.sdfu.org and click on the Education link.