The 2016 Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship Awards

Next Generation Scholarship Winners
The 2016 Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship winners.

For the last eight years, our grocer and meat distributor customers across the country have raised money for the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship Fund. Awards are given at our annual Farmer Appreciation Dinner, which celebrates our family farmers with a delicious meal prepared by top chefs from across the country.

This fund is designed to raise awareness around the loss of traditional farming and ranching practices, and to ultimately help maintain this way of life. Our goal is to help give the children and family members of Niman Ranch farmers a better opportunity to return to the farm by helping pay for some of their education. Initiatives like this within the Niman Ranch farm community contribute to keeping the average age of our farmers at 47-years old, which is more than ten years below the national average!

Some contributors work with chefs to host a special event as a fundraiser, some round up at the register, sell a special item at the grab-and-go counter or host a special grill out for local families to enjoy. You’ll often find a former scholarship winner at these events eager to talk about their experience raising hogs sustainably and humanely for Niman Ranch.

Marczyk Fine Foods Burger Night Fundraiser
Paul Marczyk and Jeff Prah of Marczyk’s Fine Foods in Denver, CO, at their annual Next Generation Scholarship Fund Burger Night Fundraiser. This year, Marczyk’s raised over $25,000.

We had 24 contributors raise over $85,000 this year – the most they’ve ever raised – which includes four events that brought multiple chefs and community members together to raise money. We express a deep amount of gratitude for their efforts to help support the next generation of farmers in America:

Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa & Chef Alice Gonzalez
Perdue Farms
Progressive Distributors
Rebecca & Mark Davis
Results Sales & Marketing
Sterling Food Service
Tonali’s Meats
Tony’s Fine Foods
Turtle Beach Food Service
Trevor Ortman & Sharen Hauri
Chef Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill
Wasatch Meats

This year’s winner of the David Serfling Niman Ranch Memorial Scholarship is Jaclynn Knutson: “Thank you to all employees, producers, distributors and consumers for making the Niman way possible. After attending the 17th Annual Farmer Appreciation Dinner, I now understand the importance of support around the entire agricultural industry. I am very honored to receive this award and am excited to use my college experience to advance the pork industry.”

Next Generation Scholarship Fund
Jaclynn Knutson of Centerville, South Dakota, accepting the David Serfling Memorial Scholarship.

Jaclynn is the daughter of Jason and Alicia Knutson of Centerville, South Dakota. They’ve been raising hogs for Niman Ranch since 1998, just three years after our hog program was established. Jaclynn believes the world needs young farmers to continue the tradition  of American agriculture. She has personal interest in multi-species livestock farming and crop diversity.

Jaclynn is currently seeking a double major at South Dakota State University in Animal and Agricultural Sciences, with minors in Ag Business, Marketing and Agronomy. She was Chapter President of the Viborg-Hurley FFA Chapter in  High School, earning several accolades while participating as speaker, judge and historian through both FFA and other school- and farming-related activities. We’re proud to have motivated students like Jaclynn pursuing a career in agriculture.

Congratulations to all of our scholarship winners. We wish them the best over the 2016-2017 school year:

Madeline Althoff
Ruthie Carpenter
Kallin Crile
Raeanna Crile
Elle Gadient
Melissa Gerken
Sarah Hansen
Abigail Hansen
Allison Harvey
Jessica Heiserman
Kameryn Ingels
Colton Ingels
Dane Kruse
Amber Miles
Sara Miles
Mollie Osterman
Brent Parker
Joel Schultz
Michael Stender
Noah Taylor
Hannah Taylor
Jordan Worthington

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