Eight deserving high school seniors each received $500 scholarships following the 2015 Central Minnesota Farm Show.

The St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce uses a portion of farm show exhibitor fees to fund the scholarships.

Since the program started in 1982, the Chamber has awarded over 200 scholarships, for a total $75,600, to individuals studying agriculture in their post-high school education.

Many of these ambitious young people do very well in their studies, are involved in 4-H and FFA, play sports, and help out with agricultural activities or farming.

“I am very thankful for the scholarship, just because every bit helps, especially with tuition and how crazy expensive things get,” said Aimee Schulz, a graduate of Becker High School.

Schulz is majoring in genetics at Iowa State University, and is also declaring minors in agronomy and animal science.

She’s already received the opportunity to assist in research comparing DNA from ancestral and modern corn at Iowa State University.

“I get to do full genetic testing and DNA analysis for the next three semesters plus summers as well,” she said enthusiastically.

Taking another path is Nathan Maus, who graduated from Melrose High School. He is completing the two-year John Deere Technician Program at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.

His goals include working as a mechanic or technician and helping on the family farm. He remains very involved with his local 4-H club while attending college.

Another scholarship winner is Katie Jacobson, a graduate of Foley High School. She attends North Dakota State University where she is studying agribusiness. Her experiences in high school included working at a meat processing plant, and also raising and working with beef cattle and horses on her family farm.

Her goals include getting a loan officer position and working with farm loans and banking.

A graduate from Milaca High School also received a scholarship. Selena Lopez is earning a double major in plant science and genetics. She plans to become a genetic researcher.

“I loved doing the soils contests in FFA in high school,” Lopez said, “I am really looking forward to my soil class this year in college.”

All eight of the 2015 winners demonstrated ongoing dedication to crop or livestock production. The following students received $500 scholarships following the 2015 Central Minnesota Farm Show:

Dillon Blonigen, Eden Valley/Watkins High School

Eric Ebnet, Holdingford High School

Katie Jacobson, Foley High School

Selena Lopez, Milaca High School

Nathan Maus, Melrose High School

Aimee Schulz, Becker High School

Andrew Vannurden, Sauk Rapids-Rice High School

Benjamin Witt, Little Falls High School.