Scholarships support future beef industry leaders

Farm Forum

The Certified Angus Beef brand awarded $20,000 to six students for their community and beef industry leadership and achievements.

Since its inception in 1999, the Colvin Scholarship Fund has supported nearly 50 future leaders in their endeavors to continue education in agriculture and animal sciences. Developed to honor the brand’s founding executive director of 21 years, the Fund emulates Louis M. “Mick” Colvin’s role in making dreams a reality and inspiring others to do their best.

2014 Undergraduate Colvin Scholarship Awards:

$5,000 – Maci Lienemann, Princeton, Neb. – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

$4,000 – Kristy Klingenberg, Bremen, Ohio – The Ohio State University

$3,000 – Katherine Satree, Montague, Tex. – Texas Tech University

$2,000 – Brittany Blum, Lubbock, Tex. – Texas Tech University

$1,000 – Brian Highfill, Enid, Okla. – Oklahoma State University

2014 Graduate Colvin Scholarship Award:

$5,000 – Nicholas Sevart, Wichita, Kan. – Kansas State University

Taking a holistic approach, undergraduate applicants were asked to predict beef industry challenges for the next 10 years, along with how to overcome them and respond to consumer demand to usher in their vision of the industry.

Maci Lienemann, top award winner, sees a sustainable U.S. beef herd as the keystone. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln junior wrote, “Our industry must begin capitalizing on current industry advancements, in addition to developing and initiating new innovative practices that will enable us to produce the kind of nutritional sustenance necessary to feed an ever growing global population.”

Lienemann, an animal science-biology major pointed out that in spite of the smallest U.S. cow herd in decades, domestic beef production has been sustained. For that to continue, she said the global market will need to expand, and education and youth involvement should be encouraged.

With aspirations to later obtain a master’s and PhD., the Nebraska native serves as an American Angus Association Ambassador, all the while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

Kristy Klingenberg envisions a near future where consumers will be “proud of and wholeheartedly willing to eat” any beef product they encounter. The animal science senior and $4,000 Colvin Scholarship winner plans to continue education at The Ohio State University on track to become a veterinarian. She listed transparency, producer understanding of consumer concerns and education among the developments needed to bring her dream to fruition.

Texas Tech University senior and $3,000 award winner Katherine Satree sees an industry that meets rising global demand by focusing on both cost and quality. “The beef industry’s challenge to remain an affordable and high-quality protein source requires the efficiency of each individual animal to be increased, while maintaining a quality meat product,” she wrote. Those who are aware and adaptable will “survive and thrive” amid the changes.

Brittany Blum drew upon experience with her family’s Angus herd in northwest Texas to list the biggest obstacle as maintaining a focus on consumers and “keeping up with demands.” The Texas Tech University junior and $2,000 award winner pointed out not only the demand for pounds of great beef but also personal demands such as convenience, choices and ease of preparation among the challenges ahead. The past Student Ag Council president said, “It’s obvious times are changing, so we must change, too.”

Oklahoma State University junior Brian Highfill said his vision for the future is “merely an acceleration of the path the industry is currently taking.” The agricultural economics major and $1,000 Colvin award winner said more data collection, information sharing and goal-specific production systems will support the industry that is “poised for tremendous growth and profitability.”

The Colvin Scholarship Fund began its graduate awards in 2012, opening doors to anyone in a recognized, full-time masters or doctorate program related to high-quality beef production.

Nicholas Sevart, second-year masters student at Kansas State University, received the $5,000 award. He conducted a research study entitled, “Evaluation of chemical antimicrobials electrostatically applied to pre- and post-chilled beef surfaces as an effective and cost-effective intervention strategy against Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) during processing operations.” Findings could have far-reaching benefits for food safety.

Sevart said data produced by the study, “will help the beef industry control STEC contaminants across the entire farm to fork continuum. In return, this will help the industry produce safe, quality beef.” A leader among his peers, the Kansas native plans to further his education with a PhD before working in the food industry and one day becoming a professor specializing in food safety.

As the top scholarship recipients, Lienemann and Sevart won trips to the 2014 Certified Angus Beef Annual Conference, Sept. 17-19 in Marco Island, Fla. There they will interact with leaders in the production, packing, retail and foodservice areas of the beef industry.