Contact: Tonia Ritter, 517-679-5345
GRAND RAPIDS, Nov. 30 — Three exemplary Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources students were honored Wednesday at an awards luncheon during the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 97th State Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.
Tye Thompson of Dundee, Madison Heath of Milan and Ashley Wagar of Climax were the recipients of the MFB Marge Karker Scholarship awards. Each received a $1,000 award to help fund their MSU education.
Thompson is a sophomore studying horticulture with plans to become an agri-science educator in the future. The Dundee High School graduate was a member of Dundee FFA, where he served as sentinel, and was on the football and wrestling teams. Although he didn’t grow up on a farm, he has been determined to be involved in agriculture. He began his own produce business, starting with half an acre of land, selling his products from a hay wagon. Now, his successful small business has grown to more than seven acres of land. Parents Steve and Anne Thompson are Monroe County Farm Bureau members.
“Most Americans just go to the store, pick up what they need for dinner and don’t even think about how this food got to the store,” Tye said. “As a farmer and produce-stand operator, it is my duty to show and explain to customers how this occurs. There is a separation between people and food production, and this should be changed.”
Tye is a member of the MSU Horticulture Association and Agriculture Education Club. He has been employed at the MSU Dairy Farm, participated in agricultural research involving cover crops and interned with Wilbur-Ellis.
Heath is a sophomore studying agri-business management and preparing for a career as a grain merchandiser. The Milan High School graduate was a member of FFA and the National Honor Society. She was actively involved in Washtenaw County 4-H, raising and showing hogs and horses, as well as assisting her family on its cash-crop farm. Parents Scott and Jenny Heath are Lenawee County Farm Bureau members.
“While in both 4-H and FFA, I helped with many community outreach programs such as Project RED and Breakfast on the Farm,” Madison said. “I learned bests practices for introducing small children and adults to agriculture. These experiences will help me in the future to better connect with the public about how amazing our agriculture industry is.”
Madison is a member of the National Agri-Marketing Organization, including being part of the 2016 national presentation team. She also is an MSU Collegiate Farm Bureau member, finishing third in the club discussion meet, and is an intern at Michigan Agricultural Commodities.
Wagar is a junior studying crop and soil science and preparing for a career as an agronomist. She is a graduate of Climax-Scotts Junior/Senior High School, where she was a National Honor Society member and played basketball and volleyball. She was raised on her family’s 1,300-acre, cash-crop farm and a 4-H member who showed hogs and served as club vice president. Parents Michael and Julie Wagar are Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau members.
“Now, I am a Young Farmer and I am able to go to conferences such as Growing Together, where I can network with other Young Farmers,” Ashley said. “I have added to my education through going to these conferences.”
She is a member of MSU’s Honors College and agronomy club. She has interned with Co-Alliance and AgReliant Genetics, where she worked as a seed corn production research intern.
Note: For more information after Nov. 30, contact Tonia Ritter at 517-679-5345.