The Pork Checkoff has awarded 22 scholarships to U.S. college students to foster engagement in the pork industry through swine-related career paths.
Successful applicants were selected from a pool of 41 applicants based on scholastic merit, leadership activities, involvement in the pork industry and future plans for a career in pork production.
"Helping to develop the next generation of pork professionals is one of the top issues the Pork Checkoff has identified as critical for the industry's future," said Conley Nelson, president of the National Pork Board and producer from Algona, Iowa. "Our ongoing service and obligation to producers includes ensuring that there is a sustainable source of young people ready to take on the industry's commitment to continuous improvement in all aspects of pork production. While our industry has made huge strides in recent years, these young people will ultimately help us take our game to the next level."
The 22 student recipients hail from 13 states and 14 universities:
This year's top candidate, Corey Carpenter of Red Bluff, Calif., will receive a $5,000 scholarship. He will start work toward his Master of Science degree in swine nutrition at Oklahoma State University this summer.
This year's runner-up was Austin Putz of Lacona, Iowa, who will receive a $3,500 scholarship to attend North Carolina State University in the fall of 2013 where he will begin work towards a Master of Science degree in animal breeding and swine genetics.
The other 20 students will receive $2,000 each.
"A skilled workforce is essential for the competitiveness of this industry," Nelson said. "We need young leaders to look at pork not just as a food choice, but as a career. This is a chance for the industry to encourage these young people to join a workforce that offers many diverse opportunities. On behalf of the Pork Checkoff and its partners, the National Pork Board and the pork industry, we congratulate this year's Pork Industry Scholarship recipients. We look forward to welcoming them into our industry in the future."