Fifteen Iowa Community College Students Awarded Scholarships by Ag Industry Sponsors

Fifteen Iowa Community College Students Awarded Scholarships by Ag Industry Sponsors

Each February the Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI) Foundation hosts over 250 Iowa community college agriculture/agribusiness students at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. On February 12, 2020, fifteen agriculture students each walked away with a $1,000 scholarship to their current college during the Agribusiness Career Day (ABC Day). Industry members of AAI have helped sponsor the scholarships since the event’s inception in 2014.

The AAI Foundation has raised $87,000 from 25 different companies since 2014 to provide these scholarships to Iowa community college agriculture students.

2020 AAI Foundation Scholarship Recipients and Sponsor Companies:

Des Moines Area Community College
Zach Eichmann, Garner, Iowa
Sponsored by: Iowa Biotechnology Association

Ellsworth & Iowa Valley Community College
Brant Friest, Iowa Falls, Iowa
Sponsored by: Bayer Crop Science

Hawkeye Community College
Allie Brouwer, Waterloo, Iowa
Sponsored by: GROWMARK FS

Iowa Central Community College
Leslie Murphy, Sac City, Iowa
Sponsored by: Iowa Biotechnology Association

Indian Hills Community College
Jade Spencer, Ottumwa, Iowa
Sponsored by: AgVison

Iowa Lakes Community College
Hunter Riedesel, Estherville, Iowa
Sponsored by: Iowa Certified Crop Advisers Program

Iowa Western Community College
Nathaniel J. Laughlin, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Sponsored by: CoBank

Kirkwood Community College
Matthew Leichty
Sponsored by: Dave & Mary Junge (In Memory of Dave Junge)

Muscatine Community College
Mary Kauffman, Muscatine, Iowa
Sponsored by: Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc.

North Iowa Area Community College
Hannah Bothne, Bode, Iowa
Sponsored by: Twin State, Inc.

Northeast Community College
Ian Brown, Peterson, Minnesota
Sponsored by: Twin State, Inc.

Northwest Community College
Jill Nachtigal, Little Rock, Iowa
Sponsored by: Farm Credit Services of America

Southeastern Community College
Erica McQuay, West Burlington, Iowa
Sponsored by: River Valley Cooperative

Southwestern Community College
Deena Snyder, Osceola, Iowa
Sponsored by: INTL FCStone

Western Iowa Tech Community College
Skylar Luse, Sioux City, Iowa
Sponsored by: Heartland Co-op

The event not only awarded 15 students with scholarships, but it also presented a fantastic list of speakers to round out the student event. The keynote was Detective Tim Denger, Iowa State University Police, advocating about mental health and a student’s life transitions from home life to college life and beyond. Det. Denger provided students with crucial ways to identify and define mental health, including providing the knowledge base needed to break the stigma around the topic.

Jennifer Zwaggerman, the Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center and an Assistant Professor of Law at Drake University Law School was joined by Adrienne Gathman, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Simpson College to talk about politics and law. Zwaggermand and Gathman shared the stage and questions regarding the cause and effect that laws and regulations play in agriculture/agribusiness.

Other speakers included Dr. Wendong Zhang an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University, and Laura Blomme, an Executive Recruiter at Hedlin Ag Enterprises. Dr. Zhang presented the students and instructors with an analysis of the phase one trade deal with China, the importance of trade to the US and Iowa, and how trade affects their family or business. Blomme helped the students reflect on how they present themselves to the workforce. It included everything from their social profiles to the look of their resume.

During ABC Day two of the fifteen sponsors reached the 5-Star Sponsor level. This program recognizes sponsors that have donated over $5,000 toward scholarships to the Agribusiness Association of Iowa Foundation during the ABC Day. 2020 sponsors to achieve this status are AgVision, headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa, and Mary Junge of Cedar Rapids. Co-owner Shelley Laracuente attended to accept the award.

Mary Junge has committed $5,000 to the AAI Foundation to help support scholarships to the Kirkwood Community College during the annual ABC Day in memory of her late husband Dave Junge. Mary and Dave started Junge Control in 1979 out of their garage. The hard work paid off as Junge Control became an industry leader. In 2018, the Junges sold their business to Ag Growth International based in Winnipeg, Canada.

Previous 5-Star sponsors include the Iowa Biotechnology Association (2018), Heartland oo-op (2018), Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc. (2018), Growmark FS (2018), Farm Credit Services of America (2018), and INTL FCStone (2019).

The ABC Day title sponsor for 2020 is Farm Credit Service of America and is held in conjunction with the Agribusiness Showcase and Conference.

About the Agribusiness Showcase and Conference (ASC). The ASC is the largest indoor field-day in the Midwest. The annual two-day event highlights the latest in agricultural products and services, provides educational opportunities for crop advisors, engages the next generation of agricultural professionals, and stimulates the interaction between agribusinesses. For more information about the ASC please visit

Photo: L-R: Jill Nachtigal, Jason Johnson, Farm Credit Service of America representative