JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Agri-Business Club honored 11 students with scholarships at its April meeting.
The evening included a catered meal and the scholarship presentation at Fairview Sports Bar & Grill in Jefferson.
It has been a tradition for many years that the Jefferson County Agribusiness Club annually has awarded scholarships to students pursuing careers in agriculture through post-secondary education. Funds to finance this venture are raised throughout the year primarily from the food stand at the Jefferson County Fair and an annual cheese sale prior to the Christmas holiday.
Students submitted an application and letter of recommendation. The application included information about their school activities, leadership, work experience, and two essay questions about agriculture. The recipients this year include three students currently enrolled in college.
The scholarship winners introduced themselves and gave background details on their agricultural activities and future plans.
“We had a very successful Jefferson County Fair food stand and holiday cheese and meat sale, so we are able to make $7,750 available to 11 local youth in the form of college scholarships,” shared Leigh Cheesebro, who chaired the scholarship subcommittee.
Andrew Dettman will graduate from Watertown High School this year. He plans to major in agronomy and return to the family farm. Currently, he works alongside his dad and grandfather on the operation, doing field work, caring for the animals, as well as machinery repair and maintenance.
Andrew ran cross-country and was in the band for Watertown High School. In Watertown FFA he was a member of the agricultural mechanics team and competed in the agricultural sales event. He also competed in FFA quiz bowl on the state level.
Andrew is a member of the Farmington All-Stars, where he has exhibited at the county and state fair. He carried projects in dairy, sheep and rocketry. He was a member of the county meats judging team as well as the county dairy quiz bowl team.
Liam Bos will graduate from Fort Atkinson High School. He will study Construction Management Technology at Fox Valley Technical College for agricultural building. Upon completion of his degree, he would like to join Bos Design Builders.
At Fort Atkinson FFA, Liam earned the Wisconsin State FFA Degree, and chaired the pancake breakfast and the holiday parade. His SAE projects are a diversified agriculture project, where he makes maple syrup, a firewood business where he cuts trees and sells firewood, and his dairy cattle project where he has exhibited at the Jefferson County Fair since 2014. He also exhibited at the Wisconsin State Fair.
At Fort Atkinson High School, he was on the volleyball and baseball teams as well as being in the Archery Club. Liam earned the Coach’s Award for Baseball on his freshman team. He earned the Fort Atkinson Optimist Club Youth Leadership Award as a sophomore.
Liam is a Vacation Bible School counselor and a Sunday School teacher’s assistant.
Liam worked at the Jefferson Agri-Business Club food stand at the Jefferson County since he was 11 years old. He also volunteered for Feed My Starving Students and Feed Your Soul.
Working at Hoard’s Dairyman Farm, Liam fed cows and young calves, as well as cleaned barns and did equipment maintenance. He also is employed at Warm Belly Farms where he cares for the hydroponic strawberries and works in the apple orchards.
Hailey Besch will attend Texas Tech University to study animal science and would like a career in the equine industry. At Fort Atkinson High School, she was on the basketball, volleyball and golf team. She also was a member of the National Honor Society. She placed third at state for junior varsity golf.
At Jefferson FFA, Hailey has served as vice president and reporter. She was on the horse judging team. She also participated in the speaking contest including Creed, prepared and employment skills. She placed first in creed speaking in 2019 and prepared speaking in 2020.
Her SAE includes caring for and training her horse. Hailey also works at Whitewater animal clinic where she assists with examinations and prepares equipment for use in exams and surgeries. She also works at Jellie’s Market where she picks produce, assists customers and works at the farm stand.
Hailey is a 12-year member of 4-H and is a member of the American Paint Horse Association. She also was an equine ambassador for 2020-21.
Marnie Draves will study Natural Resources and Conservation Management at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She assisted with the Jefferson County 4th Grade Farm Tour.
At Fort Atkinson High School she played volleyball and was in the orchestra. Marnie also was a member of National Honor Society and earned an Academic letter.
Marnie participated in FFA speaking contests and career development events. She was a Section 10 Quiz Bowl finalist and earned her State FFA Degree. She also was a Star in Agricultural Business.
Her Supervised Experience Program is in maple syrup production. Additionally, she processes cherry, pear, apple, blueberry, raspberry, wild raspberry and strawberry jams.
Marnie works at Johnson Health Tech North America where she handles clerical duties and works in the warehouse. She also is employed at Gracie’s Berries where she works both in the fields and as a cashier, handling customer service.
Nicholas Fischer will graduate from Jefferson High School and major in Animal Science-Meat Animal at UW-River Falls. He is gaining valuable experience as an employee at Heritage Meats. He is a member of National Honor Society.
In Jefferson FFA, Nicholas earned Star Greenhand and participated in district Career Development Events. His Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) was in equine science placement.
He worked at Whispering Pines and Farmington Express Percherons. He assisted with training, feeding and caring for their horses. He exhibited and was top youth at several shows throughout the Midwest.
Nicholas received the Jerry Hitchcock Memorial Trophy for top youth draft horse showman at the Jefferson County Fair.
In 4-H, he served as president, vice president, reporter and secretary. At Jefferson High School he was in jazz band and played saxophone. Nicholas was an active member of Future Business Leaders Association and was a state qualifier in the Agribusiness sector.
Michelle Stangler graduated from Watertown High School and is a sophomore at UW-River Falls, where she is majoring in ag marketing and communications and journalism with an ag business minor. In her career, she hopes to share the positive story of agriculture.
Michelle is on the dean’s list, and a member of the Dairy Club and Sigma Alpha Agricultural Sorority.
She has exercised her agricultural communication skills when she chaired the 20-page FFA section in the Watertown Daily Times for FFA Week and served as a broadcast desk news intern at National FFA Convention.
Michelle taught agriculture to local elementary school children. She also worked with Pam Jahnke at Mid-West Farm Report Network interviewing guests. Working a few hours a week doing social media for GENEX also uses her skills.
Michelle has earned the American FFA Degree, and was a member of the State FFA Honors Band, as well as serving as Wisconsin FFA State Vice President.
Her Supervised Agricultural Experience program was working on family dairy, where she was responsible for feeding and milking at Shel-Valley Dairy. Furthermore, she works part-time at Farm & Fleet.
She also had a Poultry Entrepreneurship SAE, where she raised a flock of chickens. Michelle earned high individual honors in state for poultry judging and the Watertown FFA team placed second in the state. Her 4-H projects of photography and cake decorating were exhibited at the Jefferson County Fair.
Luis Avila Vette is on the Watertown High School High Honor Roll. In Watertown FFA, he participated in Creed Speaking, Parliamentary Procedure Team, and Soil Judging.
Luis earned Star Greenhand and served as chapter sentinel and reporter. He also placed first in Parliamentary Procedure and Employment Skills contests. Grain and forage production were his FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience program, as well as vegetable production where he maintains a garden and sells to local customers.
He carried several projects in the Lebanon Luckies 4-H Club and played youth baseball. Additionally, Luis is active in church with projects and serving as a confirmation mentor.
Luis feeds cattle at his grandfather and uncle’s farm, and during planting and harvesting of corn, oats, alfalfa and wheats operates the machinery. He will major in crop and soil science at UW-Platteville.
Emily Zilisch is a senior at Jefferson High School. She carries a 4.05 grade-point average and is a member of National Honor Society. She milks cows and feeds calves at Magritz Dairy LLC. She wants to study agronomy in college so she can have a career as an agronomist.
She twice was the Jefferson FFA President and also served as chapter historian. Emily participated in volleyball for four years, gymnastics for three years, and track and field for four years. She earned her varsity letter in all three sports.
In her free time, Emily volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul thrift store and at her church fall festival.
Anna Koehler will graduate from Jefferson High School. As a member of the Jefferson FFA chapter, she served as an officer and was on Livestock Judging Team. She has a small Angus herd and FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience is in Beef Production. She was a regular Jefferson County Fair exhibitor.
In high school, Anna played golf for four years. She works at Koehler’s Riverview Farm where she cares for livestock, and is involved with spring and fall field work.
She will major in Agricultural Business with a minor in Animal Science. Anna looks forward to a career in agricultural marketing and sales and/or farm management.
Maryann Gudenkauf graduated from Watertown High School. She attends the UW-Madison with a Dairy Science major.
She served as the Watertown FFA president, treasurer, and sentinel. Her first FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience was Dairy Production Placement. She started feeding calves and milking cows and advanced to mixing feed.
Maryann earned a Gold for her FFA Dairy Production project. Her second SAE is swine research. She has been working through a youth apprenticeship program at the UW-Madison Swine Research and Teaching Center since May 2021.
She has been preparing college research projects as well as caring for 1,200 head of swine. This project has expanded her knowledge and makes her excited to learn more about the agriculture industry.
Maryann participated in several FFA speaking contests. She placed second in the district and third in the section in the FFA Creed Contest in 2019. Additionally, she placed second in the district in extemporaneous speaking and her team won the district Parliamentary Procedure contest three years.
She played varsity volleyball and earned 1st Team All-Conference, Most Valuable Player and Senior Team Captain. Other activities included Watertown FFA Trap Shooting Team and Watertown Forensics.
Maryann works at Gudenkauf Farm, where she has fed cattle, milked cows and done field work in this family-owned and operated farm. She also worked at Riverview Watertrap as a bartender/server and at The Pinecone Restaurant where she was a waitress and worked in the deli.
Signe Kind graduated from Fort Atkinson High School. She was active in soccer, golf and basketball. She also was a member of National Honor Society and was a student representative on the school board.
Currently, Signe is studying Biology at Wisconsin Lutheran College with plans to attend veterinary school. She is on the college women’s soccer team and volunteers as a youth soccer coach.
She has volunteered her time at the 4th Grade Farm Tour for four years. Signe served as FFA Treasurer for two years and Vice President. Her FFA project was in beef production, where she earned her State FFA Degree. After numerous years as a Jefferson County youth exhibitor, Signe had Grand Champion Steer and Grand Champion Lamb in 2021.
As a 4-Her, she served as 4-H President, Vice President, Treasurer, as well as swine and beef youth leader. In addition to working on the family farm, Signe also works part-time at BKS Dental and Patty Coughlin’s Irish Pub.
The mission of the Jefferson County Agri-Business Club is to promote an active interest in agribusiness and be a resource to take it into the future.
The club’s goal is to promote the agribusiness community to the local and state population. This is accomplished through education, media, visits to local agribusinesses, fundraisers utilizing agricultural products, offering scholarships toward ag careers, and offering funds to organizations that promote the ag community.