Stiegelmeier receives NPSAS scholarship

Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society
Farm Forum

Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society (NPSAS) is pleased to announce member Ben Stiegelmeier of Selby, S.D., as the 2018 NPSAS scholarship recipient. The NPSAS scholarship fund was established to support the training of the next generation of sustainable/organic-minded youth. The goal is to increase the number and diversity of individuals that aim to improve human health and environmental quality and/or the sustainability of their community. At least one award of $1,000 is distributed annually.

Ben was born and raised on one of the pioneer organic farms in South Dakota. The passions for hard work and producing healthy food were instilled at a very young age. He worked in every aspect of the farm alongside his mother and older siblings after his father’s death in 2002. Ben knows first-hand both the blessings and the trials of farming. Bumper crops, neighbors, breakdowns on a Saturday, weeds, and overcoming huge losses have all been complicated blessings that this farm kid has had to navigate. Some of them were more fun than others, but now they are all settled.

Now as a college student at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., there are new and completely different sets of difficulties to overcome. Classrooms, books and dress pants are a huge change from the saddles, tractors and coveralls of the past.

Ben shared a little story to illustrate this. During finals week a professor asked Ben how the adjustment to student life had been.

“It was really hard in the beginning,” Ben answered. “Now, it is still an up-hill climb, but it’s not quite so steep.”

“You know what they say about up-hill climbs,” his professor inquired.

“What’s that?” Ben asked.

He replied, “They build muscles.”

By going to college, Ben hopes to become a more effective communicator and advocate of agriculture in both the public and private spheres. This is just one way he continues to grow as a champion of learning new information, growing better crops and informing fellow citizens that producing healthy food is important for a stable civilization.

Ben thinks it is crucial to support the next generation in agriculture. “It is very humbling,” he added, “that there are people who see enough potential in me to warrant such a generous investment. Members of NPSAS and friends, thank you for helping me ‘build muscles.’”

Please visit www.npsas.org for an application form and complete list of details.

Ben Stiegelmeier