Vita Plus Loyal and Vita Plus Kennan Name Agriculture Scholarship Winners (April 2020)
Kaitlin Thoma, Neillsville, is the daughter of Gary and Kelly Thoma. Thoma grew up on her family’s farm, which is where she developed a desire to work in the dairy industry. While her parents made the decision to sell the farm in 2015, Thoma still works in the dairy industry, milking cows and feeding animals at a local dairy, and she raises beef heifers at the home farm. Thoma has also been an active member of the Neillsville FFA Chapter, where she is currently the chapter president. She said FFA “has been the most rewarding activity of her high school career” because it has taught her public speaking skills and helped develop strong leadership qualities. Thoma has been accepted to Mid-State Technical College’s farm operation program. After completing this two-year degree, she wants to work as a herdsman to help other farmers be successful and “to help raise healthy animals.”
Trevyn Wilke, Loyal, is the son of Robert and Tanya Wilke. He grew up showing dairy cattle and swine with the Loyal Lads and Lassies 4-H Club, and he gained a greater understanding of the dairy industry by working for a custom harvesting and manure application business, and participates in the school-to-work program to help perform chores for several local dairy farms. Wilke plans to attend North Central Technical College in the fall to pursue a double major in agricultural business and dairy science, with hopes of becoming a dairy nutritionist. He said, “Being a dairy nutritionist will allow me to work with dedicated farmers and animals each day, but, most importantly, be a part of something I love – farming.”
Cortney Zimmerman, Spencer, is the daughter of Mark and Cheryl Zimmerman. Zimmerman grew up on her family’s purebred and percentage Simmental cattle farm, where she learned how rewarding it was to work in agriculture. Her passion for agriculture grew as she became an active member in her local 4-H club and FFA chapter, as well as helping organize events and lessons for her school’s agricultural education department. Zimmerman served as president of the Spencer FFA Chapter from 2018 to 2019, and she was selected to serve as a National Voting Delegate for the Wisconsin Association of FFA in the summer of 2020. After graduation, Zimmerman plans to attend South Dakota State University to study animal science and hopes to work for a livestock nutrition company to help feed the world. She said, “We must be able to continue enhancing opportunities to grow the livestock industry to feed the growing population.”
Haven Pearison, Hawkins, is the daughter of Jeffery and Loree Pearison. Throughout her high school experience, Pearison has balanced work and school. She is proud of the work ethic she has developed from working on several dairy farms as well as in the Ladysmith Nursing Home. Pearison’s passion is photography, and she plans to attend the Chippewa Valley Technical College to earn a degree in digital marketing. She currently designs marketing materials for the Flambeau Greenhouse and various FFA events and has a goal to own her own digital marketing business one day. Pearison knows this won’t be easy, but she understands the value of hard work and said, “If you want something, you have to make it happen for yourself.”
The employee owners at Vita Plus Loyal and Vita Plus Kennan recognize supporting students in their pursuit of agricultural careers is essential to develop the next generation of leaders and innovators in the agriculture industry. “The agriculture industry will always require leaders to innovate and adapt to provide a safe, nutritious and abundant food supply,” said John Every, Vita Plus Loyal general manager. “The education these students will receive will help ensure the success of the industry for years to come.”
Vita Plus consultants offer the latest cutting-edge technology along with practical, customized strategies to help farms achieve their unique goals. Vita Plus Corporation is an employee-owned company headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, serving livestock producers since 1948. For more information about the organization, call 800.362.8334 or go online at www.vitaplus.com.