Md. Grain Pro­duc­ers award $10,000 in col­lege schol­ar­ships

Record Observer - - School -

CENTREVILLE — The Mary­land Grain Pro­duc­ers Utiliza­tion Board is com­mit­ted to rec­og­niz­ing col­lege stu­dents for their aca­demic and com­mu­nity achieve­ments and in­ter­est in mak­ing a last­ing im­pact to Mary­land agri­cul­ture. Four stu­dents were each awarded a $2,500 schol­ar­ship at the Mary­land Com­mod­ity Clas­sic on July 27. Re­cip­i­ents are An­drew Bauer of Day­ton, Jenell Eck of Hen­der­son, Jamie Het­rick of Pre­ston and Cody Mor­ris of Par­sons­burg.

“The stu­dents re­ceiv­ing schol­ar­ships are in­sight­ful to the is­sues we face as farm­ers and en­er­gized to make a dif­fer­ence,” said Jen­nie Schmidt, MGPUB pres­i­dent. “Agri­cul­ture is an ex­cit­ing ca­reer choice and grad­u­ates are in de­mand for ca­reers in food pro­duc­tion, re­new­able en­ergy and en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship.”

An­drew Bauer grew up on his fam­ily’s farm where they grow row crops and raise live­stock. The son of Les­lie and Ricky Bauer of Day­ton, An­drew was al­ways ea­ger to tag along with his fa­ther dur­ing daily chores. A 2013 grad­u­ate of Glenelg High School, An­drew at­tends Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park, ma­jor­ing in Agri­cul­ture Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, with the in­tent of re­turn­ing to the fam­ily farm.

“De­spite the in­cred­i­ble in­crease in yields in the past 50 years, there has also been an as­ton­ish­ing amount of is­sues that have arisen in­clud­ing cli­mate change, grain prices, farm costs, reg­u­la­tions and land use,” An­drew com­mented. Avail­abil­ity of farm­land, which could be ad­dressed in part by zon­ing, and con­sumer ac­cep­tance of agri­cul­ture are two of the big­gest is­sues he sees as af­fect­ing agri­cul­ture.

Pur­su­ing a dou­ble ma­jor de­gree in Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Agri­cul­ture and Nat­u­ral Re­sources from the Univer­sity of Delaware, Jenell Eck said ed­u­cat­ing con­sumers is her main pri­or­ity. The spec­trum of con­sumer knowl­edge ranges in a va­ri­ety of ways.

“We must not seg­re­gate our­selves by how much and what we pro­duce,” Jenell said. “By be­ing one large fam­ily, we can tell our story, we can reach out to the un­reach­able and ed­u­cate them about the im­por­tance of the di­ver­sity of agri­cul­ture.”

Jenell said trust can be built with con­sumers by farm­ers be­ing a pos­i­tive im­age on so­cial me­dia and read­ily avail­able to an­swer the un­known ques­tions con­sumers have about farm prac­tices. Her par­ents, Mark and Vicky Eck, raised Jenell on a grain and poul­try farm in In­gle­side, and she is a grad­u­ate of Queen Anne’s County High School.

A grad­u­ate of Colonel Richard­son High School, Jamie Het­rick stud­ies at West Vir­ginia Univer­sity, ma­jor­ing in Agri­cul­tural and Ex­ten­sion Ed­u­ca­tion, with an em­pha­sis in Agri­cul­tural Tech­nolo­gies and a dou­blemi­nor in Hor­ti­cul­ture and Agribusi­ness and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment. Daugh­ter of Vic­trie Carr and Car­roll Het­rick of Pre­ston, Jamie grew up on her grand­par­ent’s and un­cle’s grain farm. She wants to be­come a part of the Het­rick Farms Part­ner­ship af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

“Over­com­ing the is­sue of pro­vid­ing for nine bil­lion peo­ple by 2050 will re­quire farm­ers and the so­ci­ety to stay ed­u­cated and up-to­date with the de­vel­op­ment of new tech­nolo­gies and main­tain an open and in­no­va­tive mind when it comes to adopt­ing th­ese prac­tices which will help the in­dus­try suc­cess­fully pro­vide for the fu­ture,” said Jamie.

Cody Mor­ris be­gan help­ing at his grand­fa­ther’s and un­cle’s farm at age 10, help­ing in the chicken house and cut­ting grass. To­day he helps with plant­ing and har­vest­ing of corn and soy­beans, and man­ages his own pump­kin patch. Cody is the son of Thomas and Lisa Mor­ris of Par­sons­burg.

“It is dif­fi­cult for small scale farm­ing op­er­a­tions to sur­vive in the cur­rent day and age,” said Cody. “With new tech­nol­ogy that is be­ing pro­duced each day, the fam­ily farm could be­come more ef­fi­cient and yield bet­ter prof­its which could help them re­main a part of the com­mu­ni­ties they are in.”

Cody is a re­cent grad­u­ate from Park­side High School and plans to ma­jor in Agri­cul­tural and Re­source Eco­nomics at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park. His goal is to re­turn to the fam­ily farm and pass it on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions in the fam­ily.

“We are proud to see th­ese young peo­ple join the other 49 stu­dents who have been re­cip­i­ents of MGPUB schol­ar­ships to fol­low a ca­reer path in agri­cul­ture,” Schmidt said. “This pro­gram is a strong in­vest­ment in our fu­ture to see farm­ing suc­cess­fully con­tinue in our area.”

PHO­TOS BY CON­NIE CON­NOLLY

Mary­land Grain Pro­duc­ers Utiliza­tion Board Pres­i­dent Jen­nie Schmidt, left, presents Jenell Eck with a $2,500 schol­ar­ship.

Mary­land Grain Pro­duc­ers Utiliza­tion Board Pres­i­dent Jen­nie Schmidt, left, presents a $2,500 schol­ar­ship to Jamie Het­rick.

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