Five Students Receive $1,500 Scholarships from Dairy Farmers of America

Winners from Idaho, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin
March 18, 2008

Kansas City, Mo. - Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) is investing in the future of the dairy industry by awarding scholarships to outstanding dairy students. The five inaugural winners, who received $1,500 scholarships, were announced today at the cooperative’s 10th Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Mo. DFA received more than 200 applications from 35 states and two foreign countries.

Representing the top two percent of the applicants, the winners are Matthew Mitchell from LaFollette, Tenn., Malorie Rhoderick from Mt. Airy, Md., Steven Toone from Grace, Idaho, Laurie Winkelman from Watertown, Wis., and Clayton Wood from Littlestown, Pa.

“The number and quality of applicants were impressive, and we were inspired to read about the passion and commitment these students have for the dairy industry,” says Bob Bown, DFA board member and chairman of the DFA Scholarship Foundation. “DFA understands the importance of developing future leaders in the dairy industry and is committed to investing in their education,” the Fayette, Utah dairy producer adds.

The five scholarship recipients have strong dairy backgrounds, all attributing their success to their activity in 4-H, FFA and breed associations, as well as their current academics and extracurricular activities. They were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Applicant’s commitment and passion to have a career in the dairy industry, and responses to three essay questions
  • Extracurricular activities, awards, recognition and work experience
  • Academic achievement
  • Financial need

Matthew Mitchell is a freshman at Lincoln Memorial University, in Harrogate, Tenn., and plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee to study animal science. While enrolled in college full-time, Matt owns and manages Rocky Top Holsteins, a small registered herd of 15 cows and 45 heifers. He grew up on a registered Holstein farm and has an extensive background with dairy shows, sales and judging. He served as president of the Tennessee Junior Holstein Association, chairman of the National Junior Holstein Advisory Council and is a former Young Distinguished Junior Holstein Association Member. His future plans are to continue developing his herd and potentially work off the farm in the dairy industry.

Malorie Rhoderick is a junior at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg, Va., where she is majoring in dairy science and minoring in professional writing. She grew up on a registered Holstein, Milking Shorthorn and Brown Swiss farm and has been successful in both exhibiting and judging dairy cattle. She was a Maryland Distinguished Junior Holstein Member and has interned and is a freelance writer for Holstein World. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a career in dairy journalism and eventually return to a dairy farm to exhibit and market high-quality registered dairy cattle.

Steven Toone is a sophomore at Brigham Young University-Idaho, in Rexburg, Idaho, where he majors in agricultural business and plans to transfer to Utah State University to add a minor in dairy science. He grew up on a registered Holstein farm and was active in Holstein, 4-H and FFA activities. He was an Idaho Distinguished Junior Holstein Member, and received many awards for judging, fitting and showing. His future plans include working in the dairy industry for several years before returning to manage Toone Dairy Farm, Inc. with his brother.

Laurie Winkelman is a Ph.D. student at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., studying dairy nutrition and farm business management. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree from The Ohio State University. Laurie grew up on a registered Holstein and Brown Swiss farm, and has had internships at Hoard’s ™ Dairyman and Cargill Animal Nutrition. She was a National Holstein Distinguished Junior Member and placed first in both the 4-H and Intercollegiate National Dairy Judging Contests. Laurie plans to pursue a career in either academia or industry where she can develop practical applications for new technologies to help dairy producers increase their profitability and efficiency.

Clayton Wood is a junior at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., majoring in animal science and agribusiness. He grew up on a registered Holstein farm and was active in Holstein, 4-H and FFA activities, particularly public speaking, dairy judging and showing cattle. Clayton is a past president of the Pennsylvania Junior Holstein Association, a National Holstein Distinguished Junior Member and placed first in the national 4-H Dairy Judging Contest at Louisville. His internship experiences include Farm Credit and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Upon graduation, he plans to work in production agriculture, business consulting or agricultural finance.

cholarship sponsors were also recognized at DFA’s Annual Meeting including:

Platinum sponsors of $5,000 and above include Downes-O’Neill/FCStone Group, Inc. and IBA, Inc. Gold sponsors of $1,000-$4,999 include CoBank; T.C. Jacoby & Co., Inc.; Masters Gallery; RMX Global Logistics; and UniFirst Corporation. Silver sponsors of $250-$999 include the Acord Cox and Company; Ball Corporation; Belmark; Cabool State Bank; Ecovation; J/D/G Consulting; Grainger Industrial Supply; Insight; and Nelson-Jameson.

“Thank you to our sponsors who joined DFA in investing in the future of the dairy industry,” says Bown. “We value their support, and know that together we can truly make a difference in the lives of our youth, the future leaders of the dairy industry.”

Additional dairy industry supporters are invited to contribute to DFA’s Scholarship Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions can be made payable to the DFA Scholarship Foundation and mailed to Dairy Farmers of America, ATTN: Scholarship Foundation, 10220 North Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, MO 64153.

The application period for next year’s scholarship program will open in the fall and close January 15, 2009. For more information, visit or contact Stephanie Meyers at 816-801-6478.