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ZACHARY FERHMAN IS THE INAUGRUAL WINNER OF THE CHARLES P CRAVE WISCONSIN RURAL OPPORTUNITIES FOUNDATION BOARD SCHOLAR AWARD

December 4, 2020 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

Bowler native, Zachary Fehrman was awarded $1000 towards his education as the Charles P. Crave Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WORF) Board Scholar. He was selected from over 300 applicants from rural Wisconsin.

Fehrman is the son of Douglas and Valerie Fehrman, and a 2020 graduate of Bowler High School. He is currently attending the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point pursuing a degree in water and wastewater treatment. “There are so many opportunities in the field of water and wastewater treatment,” says Fehrman. “UW-Stevens Point has the best Natural Resources program in the state of Wisconsin.”

Bowler School remains one of the smallest in the state, with less than 100 students in a town of just over 300 people. Fehrman is no stranger to rural Wisconsin, growing up and working on his grandfather’s sheep farm and helping neighbors on their dairies. His earnings will be used to help fund his education as his family is unable to assist due to medical costs.

During his high school tenure, Fehrman was actively involved in FFA, 4-H, National Honor Society, band, choir, soccer, baseball, and basketball. He has garnered numerous accolades for his achievements including being a WIAA Scholar Athlete, Secretary’s Book Award, and First-Team All-Conference Baseball to highlight a few.

The WROF is honored to announce the inaugural class of board scholars. Nine rural Wisconsin students were selected to receive a scholarship that is funded and supported by a board member of WROF.

“The WROF has been fostering our rural society since the depths of the Great Depression.  Now in the depths of Covid-19, we are proud to foster our rural youth,” stated board member Charles Crave.

Crave has also committed to the program already for the 2021-2022 school year providing funds for another board scholar. His commitment to the program and the youth of rural Wisconsin is unwavering.

Since 1934, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. has invested in the education of people from rural Wisconsin so they, in turn, can transform and improve the economic health and quality of life in their rural areas. As a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, more 6000 individuals have received over $6.2 million in scholarships and grants in agricultural and rural health care education in over 30 different Wisconsin educational institutions and programs.

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JIM CALDWELL/CITIZEN BANK WISCONSIN RURAL OPPORTUNITIES FOUNDATION BOARD SCHOLAR AWARDED TO SAVANNAH SIDERS

November 18, 2020 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

Savannah Siders of Mishicot, Wis. was awarded $1000 towards her education as the Jim Caldwell/First Citizens State Bank Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WORF) Board Scholar. She was selected from over 300 applicants from rural Wisconsin.

“I know there are many worthy candidates for this scholarship, but this scholarship will help me avoid obtaining expensive student loans that may take years to repay,” comments Siders.

A 2020 graduate of Mishicot High School, Siders is the daughter of Steven and Jennifer Siders. She is currently attending the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay pursuing a degree in biology and pre-veterinary. “The reason I want to major in biology and pre-veterinary is that I have always been passionate about helping animals and making them feel better,” says Siders.

Logging over 400 hours of volunteering; Siders list of extra curriculars is extensive. Her activities include FFA, varsity dance team, forensics, and high school musicals to name a few. Siders enthusiasm and hard work have garnered her numerous accolades including being Summa Cum Laude, student of the month, and various FFA awards.

Upon completion of her schooling, Siders hopes to return to rural Wisconsin, especially the Mishicot area. “In my area, there is a high need for large animal vets with many farms desperate to find someone who could help with their livestock’s health and development,” says Siders. Additionally, she hopes to serve as a mentor and volunteer in the community.

The WROF is honored to announce the inaugural class of board scholars. Nine rural Wisconsin students were selected to receive a scholarship that is funded and supported by a board member of WROF.

Jim Caldwell, award sponsor and President of First Citizens State Bank, comments, “Congratulations to all our winners, especially Savannah. I am impressed with your high school career of diversified activities and leadership positions. I am also pleased to learn of your career goal of becoming a large animal veterinarian as well as plans to stay in Wisconsin. I believe you have great potential for future leadership in a Wisconsin rural community.”

Since 1934, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. has invested in the education of people from rural Wisconsin so they, in turn, can transform and improve the economic health and quality of life in their rural areas. As a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, more than 6000 individuals have received over $6.2 million in scholarships and grants in agricultural and rural health care education in over 30 different Wisconsin educational institutions and programs.

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INAUGURAL WINNER OF THE JOAN BEHR WISCONSIN RURAL OPPORTUNITIES FOUNDATION BOARD SCHOLAR AWARD IS MELISSA SRNKA

November 4, 2020 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

Melissa Srnka of Algoma, Wis. was awarded $1000 towards her education as the Joan Behr Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WORF) Board Scholar. She was selected from over 300 applicants from rural Wisconsin. 

“This scholarship directly reflects all of my hard work in community service, sports, academics, and 12 years of schooling,” says Srnka. “With this scholarship, I am able to lighten my financial burden and focus on the most important part of my schooling, learning.”

Srnka is the daughter of Scott and Tina Srnka. She graduated top of her class from Algoma High School and is now attending the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay pursuing an education in physical therapy. “UW-Green Bay will allow me to make connections for my future in the workforce by being connected to the Green Bay Packers and Bellin Health,” she states.   

Being the fourth generation on the family’s dairy farm in a rural community, Srnka developed a strong work ethic and bond with the community. She is quick to lend a hand and volunteer as demonstrated by donating her fair project winnings one year to a local family facing rising debt due to medical expenses. It is ties like this, that draw Srnka back to her community upon the completion of her six years of education and training. Additionally, as a physical therapist, she will be providing a needed service to this rural Wisconsin area.   

During her high school tenure, Srnka was involved in softball, National Honor Society, Student Council and was a student mentor. Additionally, coached middle school basketball and was instrumental in the remodeling of the music rooms at her school. In her free time, she enjoys band, choir, triathlons and working with dairy cattle. 

The WROF is honored to announce the inaugural class of board scholars. Nine rural Wisconsin students were selected to receive a scholarship that is funded and supported by a board member of the WROF.

“Knowledge is the foundation of success. My hope is that this award will allow our students to focus on their education and personal development, rather than worry about funding their education. By helping them achieve their personal education dreams, they will be able to contribute to the future success of rural Wisconsin”, says Joan Behr, the WROF President and scholar sponsor. 

Since 1934, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. has invested in the education of people from rural Wisconsin so they, in turn, can transform and improve the economic health and quality of life in their rural areas. As a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, more than 6000 individuals have received over $6.2 million in scholarships and grants in agricultural and rural health care education in over 30 different Wisconsin educational institutions and programs.

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JEREMIAH IHM IS AN INAUGURAL WISCONSIN RURALOPPORTUNITIES FOUNDATION BOARD SCHOLAR

November 4, 2020 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

Jeremiah Ihm of Lancaster will receive $1000 towards his education as the Mary Elvekrog Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WORF) Board Scholar. He was selected from over 300 applicants from rural Wisconsin. 

“Having been awarded this WROF scholarship increases my financial standing as a college student while decreasing my need for student loans and my overall debt,” he states. 

Ihm is the son of John and Deb Ihm and a 2020 graduate of Lancaster High School. He is currently attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls pursuing a degree in Agricultural Education and Technology Education. “In the classroom, I look forward to teaching students about plants, animals, business and how we use them in our daily lives”, explains Ihm. “I want to help others find out what they love to do and help them succeed.”

Born and raised on his family’s organic dairy and hen farm, Ihm’s love for agriculture started early. His first farm chore was feeding bottle calves in kindergarten and this has grown into helping with field work, vaccinating and medicating animals, identifying calves, assisting with milking and taking care of his own animals. Ihm’s herd has grown to include four cows and sheep and swine project animals. 

During his high school tenure, Ihm participated in 4-H, FFA, his church, wrestling, football, National Honor Society, band and more. He, additionally, earned several accolades including lettering in wrestling and football, FFA Chapter Star Greenhand, and Wisconsin FFA Organic Proficiency State Winner. 

The WROF is honored to announce the inaugural class of board scholars. Nine rural Wisconsin students were selected to receive a scholarship that is funded and supported by a board member of WROF.

“Since the Great Depression, the WROF’s mission has been to foster vitality in rural Wisconsin. With wise leadership and prudent investing, we have awarded scholarships for decades at more than 30 post high school educational programs throughout Wisconsin,” says Joan Behr, the WROF President. 

Since 1934, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. has invested in the education of people from rural Wisconsin so they, in turn, can transform and improve the economic health and quality of life in their rural areas. As a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, more 6000 individuals have received over $6.2 million in scholarships and grants in agricultural and rural health care education in over 30 different Wisconsin educational institutions and programs.

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Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation Supports Rural Summer Science Camp

November 4, 2020 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

The Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation (WORF) continues to be a valuable partner in outreach programs that help revitalize rural Wisconsin. This program is free to rural students and helps them explore the diversity of careers in science. Since its inception in 2007, the WROF has been supporting the program.

The workshop series brought more than 100 students and 15 teachers “face-to-face” to learn online from scientists at the Morgridge Institute for Research. The students and teachers logged on from 18 school districts in the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance and the Upward Bound program that focuses on underrepresented and first-generation pre-college students.

Over six weeks, the students and teachers engaged with scientists working in the fields of metabolism, regenerative biology, medical engineering, medical imaging, and more.

“Through weekly Zoom calls, the students met with scientists, heard their personal stories, and began imagining their own paths into science,” says Dan Murphy, outreach and lab manager at the Morgridge Institute.

During the workshop, students could select a morning or an afternoon lecture, and to Murphy’s surprise, many participated in both sessions. The students learned about the latest research at the Morgridge Institute, went on “behind-the-scenes” lab tours, and had Q&A time with the scientists.

“The opportunity opens up new possibilities for students and gives them the idea that UW-Madison is attainable for anyone,” wrote a participating rural high school teacher. “I am so thankful that this opportunity existed this summer for our students.”

Ross Soens, a graduate student in the Cantor Lab, said the summer workshop was a great way to work on his science communication skills, and to remember where he started as a budding scientist.

“I, too, was once a high school student in Wisconsin, and it was through the efforts of committed and enthusiastic teachers that I found myself on my current scientific career path,” Soens says.

Murphy says the workshop showed the Discovery Outreach team how an all-virtual experience can be a meaningful place to connect and inspire. The team is thinking about the next steps such as building in more virtual interactivity for next year.

Since 1934, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. has invested in the education of people from rural Wisconsin so they, in turn, can transform and improve the economic health and quality of life in their rural areas. As a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, more than 6000 individuals have received over $6.2 million in scholarships and grants in agricultural and rural health care education in over 30 different Wisconsin educational institutions and programs.

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Premier Scholarship Award WROF Inc. Board Scholars Announced!

November 4, 2020 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

With over 300 outstanding applications, and an entirely on-line selection process, we are delighted to announce not only our first-ever WROF, Inc Premier Scholar but also nine additional awards!

All of our applicants demonstrated excellence in academic performance,  community service and had financial need. They make a difference in their families, community and rural Wisconsin! We were honored to hear their stories.  We also wish to commend the parents of these applicants.  They should be so very proud. Their children reflect quality values, work ethic and high expectations.

Peyton Mykel-Marie Clark from Ontario, Wisconsin selected.

It is our honor and joy to announce that the 2020 Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. Premier Scholarship has been awarded to Peyton Mykel-Marie Clark from Ontario, Wisconsin. Peyton graduated from Brookwood High School and her parents are Todd and Tracy Clark.   She will receive up to $2500/semester towards her tuition for up to four semesters for a total award of $10,000.  Peyton is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education at Western Technical College.  She is deeply involved in her family dairy, beef and crop farm and looks forward to bringing agriculture into the classroom upon her graduation as she teaches in her home rural area.

Board Generosity creates NINE additional WROF Board Scholars

Thanks to the generosity of several members of the WROF, Inc. Board,  additional  awards were granted. These students will receive a $1000 award this year to use towards their education this fall.  The students, and their Board scholarship donor, are:

  • Archie Cooley, Mount Hope – The Brett Renk/Renk Seed WROF Board Scholar
  • Katherine Eugster, Stoughton – The Pat Duffy/Duffy Grain WROF Board Scholar
  • Zachary Fehrman, Bowler – The Charles P. Crave WROF Board Scholar
  • Kelly Hueckman, Prentice – The Curtis Hanson/Midstate Equipment WROF Board Scholar
  • Jeremiah Ihm, Lancaster – The Mary Elvekrog WROF Board Scholar
  • Kendra Jentz, Bloomington – The Pat Duffy/Duffy Grains WROF Board Scholar
  • Savannah Siders, Mishicot – The Jim Caldwell/Citizens Bank WROF Scholar
  • Melissa Srnka, Algoma – The Joan Behr WROF Board Scholar

These young people are beginning college during this more unique time in our history.  We are confident they will move rural Wisconsin forward in new and wonderful ways.

To learn more about the WROF, Inc., please read about our history.

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WROF unveils winning design from “New Year, New Logo” contest

May 31, 2019 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

MADISON, Wisconsin [May 31, 2019] – The Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WROF) is proud to announce the winner of their “New Year, New Look” logo design contest: Adam Alan Nelson. The UW-Milwaukee student will receive a $500 scholarship for his winning design.

“Adam’s design really resonated with the WROF Board of Directors,” says Sara Schoenborn, Marketing Committee Chair. “He was able to capture the mission and vision of our organization and portray them in a new way. We are excited to utilize his creation as we continue our efforts to aid rural Wisconsin.”

“I’m grateful to have my design selected as the new brand for the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation,” says Nelson. “I coupled a vintage design in honor of their long-standing history with the modern look they were looking for as they continue to impact generations of rural Wisconsin students.”

WROF would like to thank all of the students who supplied over 30 entries to the contest and the many supporters who voted online to narrow down the top three for consideration.

For more information about WROF, visit www.wrof.org

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Five Finalists Selected in “New Year, New Logo” Contest

March 25, 2019 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

MADISON, Wisconsin [March 25, 2019] – Nearly 30 outstanding entries were received for the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WROF, Inc.) “New Year, New Look” logo design contest. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to the winning design that best reflects the organization’s mission and vision. The Foundation accepts contributions for, and provides awards to, rural Wisconsin students to attend post high school educational experiences that will enhance their impact back in rural Wisconsin.

The WROF, Inc. Marketing Committee is proud to announce the top five logo design submissions and requests the public’s help in narrowing down the choices prior to presenting the final top three designs to the Board of Directors for final selection.

Sara Schoenborn, Marketing Committee Chair, noted: “Every entry was incredible and we had an extremely difficult time choosing just five top entries. We are excited to involve the public in this important decision.”

You can view the entries and vote for the top three at https://www.facebook.com/wrof.org/ beginning March 27. The voting will end midnight Friday, April 19.

The five finalists are:

  • Adam Alan Nelson – Senior in Digital & Visual Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Gabe Ballweg – Junior in Design and Visual Communication at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  • Maddy Sharkey – Junior in Design & Visual Communications at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  • Ryan Yaeger – Senior in Graphic Design Program at Madison College
  • Sarah Weh – Sophomore in Web Design and Development at Edgewood College

The WROF, Inc. Board of Directors will make the final selection at their April 25th board meeting and the winner will be announced in early May. Stay tuned and vote for your favorite online. Visit www.wrof.org to learn more.

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Happy Holidays

December 21, 2018 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

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WROF Establishes Renk Legacy Award

February 20, 2018 by Marcy Heim | No Comments

MADISON, Wis. (February 20, 2018) – In recognition of the Renk Family’s extraordinary service to rural Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WROF) established the Renk Legacy Award.

Based on Sun Prairie-based Renk family members’ leadership of WROF and many contributions to advancing education that addresses the evolving needs of rural Wisconsin, the award will be given at board discretion.

In a resolution inaugurating the award, the WROF board noted the Renk family’s history in Wisconsin agriculture, innovation, forward thinking and efforts to establish and grow WROF.

WROF was established as the Wisconsin Rural Rehabilitation Corporation in 1934 by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Its purpose then was to purchase FHA guaranteed farm loans to stimulate the agricultural economy following the Great Depression.

During the decades that followed, it evolved into today’s Foundation supporting educational opportunities for rural Wisconsin citizens at a variety of educational institutions throughout the State of Wisconsin.

With the leadership of Walter Renk in the 1970s, the organization that is today WROF moved to invest more in the people who were striving to rekindle and expand a vibrant agricultural enterprise and a prosperous rural Wisconsin. It launched a comprehensive educational support program, providing scholarships and loans that are administered through several Wisconsin schools of higher education.

In the 1990s, with Richard Renk’s leadership, the organization updated its name to the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. to more properly reflect its expanded scope and service.

In response to an interest from individuals and corporations to invest and expand the organization’s work, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. converted from a 501(c)(4) into a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, so it could accept tax-deductible gifts and contributions.

The Renk family has called Wisconsin home since 1836 when Joseph and Katherina Renk came here to farm after leaving Germany. Over the years the farm slowly grew and in 1936 the farm under the ownership of William, Joseph’s grandson, and William’s two sons Walter and Wilbur, became the first family farm to incorporate in the U.S.

The Renk Seed Company has at one time or another raised sheep, hogs, dairy, and beef in addition to selling corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, alfalfa and grasses. Renk Seed still farms to this day producing the vast majority of what it sells.

The Renk farm had the first silo erected in Dane County in 1898, had one of the first tile drainage systems installed in Wisconsin in 1916 and had the first dairy herd to go on DHIA in Wisconsin. When universities started to advocate hybrid corn in the 1930s, Renk Seed was in the forefront, growing and selling hybrid seed corn — the cornerstone of its business today.

Renk Seed did groundbreaking work on narrow-row corn in the late 1960s. The Renk farm was one of the first to adopt no-till in its area. The seed company was one of the first to offer Farm Plan, first to use a robotic palletizer and first to offer radar-in-motion and commodity markets on its website.

William Renk helped set up the Production Credit Association in Wisconsin and Michigan. Wilbur Renk was one of the founding members of the World Dairy Expo. Walter and Richard Renk were instrumental in starting the UW-Madison Veterinary School and started an agriculture business degree at the UW.

“The Renk Family has been committed to making rural Wisconsin stronger through education for many years,” noted Carol Ward Knox, president of the WROF board. “It’s an honor to recognize their many contributions with this award.”

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