The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) recently announced recipients in two scholarship programs.

Evonik implements scholarship for HPAI-impacted families

Evonik Corporation, a worldwide leader in amino acid production and sales, and long-time Minnesota Turkey Growers Association member, implemented a scholarship program called the Evonik Cares Scholarship designed for children of turkey farmers affected by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak that hit Minnesota’s turkey industry in the spring of 2015.

The initial idea came from Evonik’s Vice President, Pete Hohl, after hearing of all the losses turkey farmers were incurring in Minnesota.  Hohl gave Gregg Veldman, Senior Account Manager and Brian Foshee, North America Sales Manager, the charter to find a way to help families affected by the HPAI outbreak. Veldman and Foshee came up with the idea of a college scholarship, fully knowing the strain that a college education can put on families.

“Minnesota’s turkey farmers and their families experienced the largest foreign animal disease outbreak in U.S. history, creating not only economic hardship for the farms directly impacted by HPAI but also a large emotional toll for all of the families involved,” said Gregg Veldman. “This scholarship program is a way for our company to give back to the turkey industry that is so vital to Minnesota.”

Veldman worked with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association to develop and distribute the scholarship.

The scholarship was awarded to the following recipients in the amount of $2,500 each:


Amy Stauffenecker: Amy is the daughter of Troy and Mary Stauffenecker from Greenbush, MN.  Amy is currently finishing up her senior year at Greenbush- Middle River high school. Next year, she will be attending NDSU to study interior design. Amy states, “I will forever be grateful for the life lessons that the farm has pushed me to learn and work through to become a better version of myself”.

Andrea Hanson: Andrea is the daughter of Bob and Tammy Hanson from Aitkin, MN. Andrea is currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls studying Agriculture Education. Andrea states, “Without the farm, I would not understand the importance of hard work and chores, and how far they can get you in life if you believe in yourself”.

Ranelius Scholarship honors students

The long-time annual MTGA and MTRPC Ranelius Scholarship focuses on encouraging applicants who are enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution to prepare for a career within the poultry industry. This year’s scholarship recipients include:

Mariah Huberty, from Harris, MN, is a second-year senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Growing up, Mariah has been very active in the poultry industry winning many top honors in 4-H and FFA at the state and national level. She is also the owner and manager of Lofty Dream Poultry, a self-sustainable, NPIP certified hatchery. Mariah raises and sells quality poultry while learning how to care for different birds in her flock at all live stages, financial, business, and records management, web design, and marketing. MTGA salutes Mariah for all her hard work!

Jenna Stauffenecker, from Spicer, MN and is finishing up her senior year at Willmar High School. Next fall, she plans to attend North Dakota State University to study respiratory care where she is looking forward to caring for patients of all ages. Growing up, Jenna has helped in many different aspect of the turkey industry by doing chores with her grandparents in the summer but also learning about the sales side through Protein Alliance. MTGA wishes Jenna the best of luck at NDSU!

Joseph Lenneman, from St. Michael, MN, is ending his senior year at St. Michael-Albertville High School. This fall, he is planning to attend University of Minnesota-Duluth majoring in Chemical Engineering. Joseph states that through his studies, he hopes help develop new ways to prevent food from spoiling and protect the consumer from possible food-borne illnesses. MTGA wishes Joseph the best of luck at University of Minnesota-Duluth!