Congratulations to the 2019 Kinnard Farms Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship winners! This scholarship is awarded to local graduating high school seniors looking to pursue a career related to agriculture. Each recipient receives a $1,500 scholarship to reward them for their outstanding high school accomplishments and to help them reach their goals of working in the agricultural industry. The 2019 scholarship recipients are Dakota Srnka, Maggie Grota and McCoy Walechka. Let’s meet this year’s winners!

Dakota Srnka

Luxemburg-Casco High School

Dakota Srnka is a graduate of Luxemburg-Casco High School and is attending Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) to study Farm Business Management and Diesel Mechanics. Dakota’s career path has been clear to him ever since he received a toy tractor for Christmas as a young boy. Because of his certainty, he actually began classes in the Farm Business Management program at NWTC before he even graduated high school. Along with taking classes, Dakota has always been heavily involved in volunteering in his community and as a member of the local FFA chapter.

When Dakota was 15, he began working on the DuBois Homestead farm milking cows. Because of his work ethic and the passion he displayed for the job, his employer had him help with fieldwork and driving their farm equipment. They have even invested in his future by sending him to take classes to learn more about specific aspects of farming and plan to help him become certified in operating and maintaining their new robotic milkers.

From playing with his toy tractor at two years old, to riding with his Grandpa chopping corn in middle school, to being entrusted to take on important tasks at his job — all of these experiences contributed to Dakota’s passion for farming. In his essay, he wrote: “I chose to go to NWTC for diesel mechanics and farm business management because of my love for farming and farm equipment.”

Maggie Grota

Southern Door High School

Maggie Grota is a graduate of Southern Door High School and will attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities to major in Animal Science on a Pre-Vet track, with intentions to apply to a Veterinary School. Maggie was always sure of her desire to be very involved throughout high school — cross country, track and field, high school musicals, Solo Ensemble and National Honors Society, just to name a few — but her career path wasn’t as clear until recently.

Growing up on a farm and having a mom who is a veterinarian, Maggie has always had a love for animals. But she did not know she wanted to follow in her mom’s footsteps until she recently rescued an orphaned kitten and nursed her back to health. Maggie describes in her application essay how the experience of raising that kitten guided her to the veterinary field. She writes, “Before that moment, I was never absolutely positive that becoming a veterinarian was what I wanted to do with my life, but now I know that there is nothing more rewarding than caring for and nurturing a living creature.”

Maggie looks forward to attending school this fall and spreading her love of animals to fellow students and future clients, coworkers and community members.

McCoy Walechka

Kewaunee High School

McCoy Walechka graduated from Kewaunee High School in May and will begin his studies in the Agronomy Program at Fox Valley Technical College this fall. McCoy was a member of the football, baseball and basketball teams at Kewaunee, as well as treasurer of the Kewaunee FFA club and a 4-H member. He was also very involved in community service, assisting with Farm Technology Days, local sports camps and much more.

Even while being extremely involved in his local community, McCoy still found the time to work on his family’s farm — Walechka Spraying. In his application essay, McCoy recounts how his love of the land came about, saying, “I have been a part of my family farm since I was little. From riding tractors and combines with my parents, baling hay, chopping corn and cleaning out steer pens. This made me appreciate the land and what the land has to offer our farms, so that we can survive in today’s world.”

This appreciation of the land is what lead him to pursue a career in agronomy, and he hopes to use his passion and knowledge to run his family’s farm one day and help other farmers and industry members succeed.