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Cargill Meat Solutions' Scholarship Program prepares FFA members for careers

"Genuinely Better" Scholarship Program gives seven K-State students on-the-job experience

Kansas

Cargill Meat Solutions recently awarded a total of $6,300 in scholarship funds to seven current Kansas State University students. The students also were invited to gain hands-on experience at Cargill facilities through the third annual "Genuinely Better" Scholarship Program. The program is a part of the Cargill Meat Solutions sponsorship of the Kansas FFA Foundation.

The "Genuinely Better" Scholarship Program awards scholarships to college juniors and seniors who are actively involved in improving their school, community and the agricultural industry. The scholarship recipients completed their job shadowing experience Jan. 5 to 8. During their visit, they spent time at Cargill Meat Solutions' headquarters in Wichita, Kan., in addition to traveling to various Cargill business operations around the state.

Recipients of the scholarships are Ashley Guenther, a junior in agricultural economics and agricultural journalism and communications from Ottawa, Kan.; Rebecca Tokach, a senior in animal science and industry from St. Anthony, N.D.; Kyle Baker, a senior in animal science and industry from Burden, Kan.; Leann Spinden, a senior in agricultural education from Burns, Kan.; Shawn Turner, a senior in agricultural education from Ottawa, Kan.; Jon Schmidt, a senior in agricultural technology management from Minneapolis, Kan.; and Nathan Parson, a junior in animal science and industry from Hutchinson, Kan.

While visiting Cargill Meat Solutions, the students met with leaders from each business unit, visited the research and development facility, and traveled to the company's beef packing facility in Dodge City, Kan., and the Cargill Grain and Oilseed Crush and Refinery Plants in Wichita, Kan.

Scholarship recipient Shawn Turner said the experience made him better understand the breadth of Cargill, which will help him apply real life examples to the high school students he plans to teach after he receives his college degree.

"By touring all of the different facilities, it was neat to see how broad the company of Cargill is," Turner said. "Before, I associated Cargill with beef or pork, but after this experience it opened my eyes to see the breadth of Cargill. I think it's critical for consumers and agricultural educators to be able to explain exactly where our food comes from and know that our food is safe."

Turner said he plans to use the knowledge he gained from this experience in the classroom.

"It's going to help when I'm teaching because I have even more real-life examples now to make agricultural topics applicable for my future students. As an educator, you can stand up and talk about cows and wheat all day, but it means nothing if you can't apply it any further than that. Now, I can show them a soybean and explain how it becomes a bottle of salad dressing," said Turner.

John Niemann, chair of the Kansas FFA Foundation Board of Trustees and vice president, beef pricing, sales and business management for Cargill Meat Solutions, said the program has demonstrated how Cargill's support of the Kansas FFA Foundation directly helps both students and the company.

"Our partnership with the Kansas FFA Foundation helps create various leadership and personal development opportunities for Kansas agricultural college students," Niemann said. "The Genuinely Better scholarship program helps exceptional students continue their education and provides interaction with industry leadership, while allowing Cargill to educate future leaders about our company."

Cargill Meat Solutions is a five-star sponsor of the Kansas FFA Foundation and donates than $25,000 annually to the foundation. To learn more about Cargill Meat Solutions, visit www.ichoosecargill.com.


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