The 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 of a member or employee of a member. Students received a $1,000 or $1,500 scholarship.
“WCO understands that the foundation for the continued success of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy depends on a well-educated workforce,” said Dr. Kevin Shinners, chairman of the WCO Scholarship and Awards Committee and professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We also recognize that the high-cost of additional education can impact this need.”
Jonni VanRite of Green Bay received a $1,000 scholarship. She is a junior at St. Norbert College, majoring in business administration with an emphasis in human resources. Jonni’s father is an employee of WCO member Vander Kinter Farms in Green Bay.
Emily Olson of Mondovi received the inaugural $1,500 Robert Hoerth Memorial Scholarship to honor WCO Past President Robert Hoerth who passed away unexpectedly in early 2020. This award is given to the most deserving scholarship applicant based on their alignment to the overall criteria. Emily is a first-year student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, majoring in business management. She is the sister of Cole Olson, a WCO member from Diversified Farms in Mondovi.
In 2021, three (3) awards will be given: Two (2) $1,000 scholarships and the $1,500 Robert Hoerth Memorial Scholarship which honors WCO Past President Robert Hoerth.
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 would be eligible to apply.