Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation Scholarship recipient, Abigail Hansen, is a proud farm kid. She grew up helping raise cattle and hogs and cultivating the land for alfalfa, corn and soybeans, alongside her parents, Niman Ranch farmers. Abigail credits her farm upbringing with teaching her the values of hard work and responsibility, which are proving useful as she pursues a degree in agronomy and environmental science.
Abigail is a recipient of the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation Scholarship to support her studies. The Foundation was started in 2006 with just one scholarship and over the past 11 years, thanks to our generous donors, has dispersed almost $500,000 to the children of Niman Ranch farmers and ranchers who are committed to furthering their education to support sustainable agriculture and rural communities.
Learn more about Abigail’s roots and aspirations in the five questions below:
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. on behalf of Niman Ranch to attend the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) Convergence. This was their fourth annual event, bringing in about 100 farmers from all around the country. When attending something like this that’s so far from home, it’s always nice to see some familiar faces. Fortunately for me, I was not the only Niman Ranch attendee. Raeanna Crile, a Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation Scholarship recipient whose father raises hogs for Niman Ranch, flew in from Dordt College for the convergence. Kerri McClimen, who leads Communications for Niman was also there to support the partners and provide guidance.
The Scheer family farm has undergone some pretty big changes in the last several months. This year we have built two brand new steel buildings. One is for breeding and contains several pens for groups of sows, a boar pen, and an office area. That’s right, an office. I guess dad is a little more hip than I thought. The other building is for farrowing and is complete except for the pens, which we will be constructing ourselves. These new buildings will not only give us more space but also allow for more temperature control during extreme hot and cold periods. Which, in Iowa, seems to be most of the year.
I traveled to Sarasota, Florida a couple of months ago to assist in promoting the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship Fund at Mattison’s Scholarship Dinner. During this visit, I enjoyed speaking to all those that attended the wonderful dinner held at Mattison’s. I enjoyed entertaining questions about Niman Ranch and my family’s seventh-generation farm during the social hour. Questions ranged from why my family supports Niman Ranch to how the scholarship fund has impacted my life to the process of raising our pigs.
Greetings everyone! I am Jaclynn Knutson and my family has been raising pigs for Niman Ranch my entire life. I had the honor of receiving the David Serfling Memorial Scholarship in 2016 and was later asked to represent Niman Ranch in Denver, Colorado. I traveled to Denver July 14th-17th and had the opportunity to spend time with both Marczyk Fine Foods and Slow Food Nations.
Hi! I’m here again to tell about my second scholarship trip for Niman Ranch this summer! It seemed like I just got back from the beaches of Florida and I was already packing back up to go to the mountains of Colorado. I have been to Marczyk’s Fine Foods once before in the summer of 2014, so I knew it would be a great time, but I had no idea what surprises were in store. I arrived on Friday the 14th and spent a little time touring Denver with fellow scholarship winner, Jaclynn Knutson, and Niman employee, Danny Kirkovich. We didn’t have time to climb any mountains, but we did stand at exactly one mile above sea level on the stairs of the capitol building!
My name is Anthony Scheer and I have been raising hogs for Niman Ranch since I was twelve years old. After receiving the David Serfling Memorial Scholarship I was asked to represent Niman farmers and the Next Generation Scholarship recipients at some scholarship fundraisers. Most recently I was asked to travel to Sarasota, Florida for a dinner at Mattison’s Forty-One.