TUSCOLA -- The Douglas County Ag Center Committee is accepting scholarship applicants for students with an interest in agriculture to apply for the Douglas County Ag Center Scholarship, according to a press release.
Previous scholarship winner Thomas Titus had the ultimate goal of continuing his education to seek a career field that he could be passionate about. Receiving the Douglas County Ag Center Scholarship gave him the opportunity and exposure to network with ag professionals and further shape the direction he wanted to take his education and career
“As a young person with a strong agricultural background and upbringing, I knew attaining a higher education in agriculture was something of great importance,” said Titus.
“I wanted to continue to broaden my outlook, experience, and career opportunities within the agricultural field. It would provide me with great opportunities. With the continued diversification and specialization of agriculture, there were endless opportunities for an individual like myself,” continued Titus.
Titus attended Arcola High School. At the time, there were no agriculture classes, but Arcola High School now offers an agricultural curriculum to its students. After graduation, Titus attended Lake Land College for two years. He was a member of the Lake Land Livestock Judging team. He continued his education at the University of Illinois with a major in Agricultural Education.
Titus also served on the U of I livestock judging team and the U of I Meats Judging team. During college, Titus served one year as the IL Pork Youth Ambassador for the Illinois Pork Producers Association.
“Livestock evaluation was a rather time intensive extracurricular activity for me, so receiving the Ag Center Scholarship gave me the opportunity to place greater focus on my education and livestock judging with less focus on the continual rise of tuition,” stated Titus.
“One of the great benefits of scholarship opportunities is to be able to collaborate with ag professionals across a diverse platform; and after completing my education, I developed this network to determine what career path would be the most appropriate fit for me,” said Titus.
After college, Titus wanted to seek out a work environment that focused on employee development and provided key learning and career opportunities for him. Titus worked nearly six years for Cargill’s Pork Business Unit, training and working at their facilities in Illinois and Iowa, and later accepted a position at their headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.
“That work experience allowed me to develop a greater business acumen while still being able to maintain my passion for the pork industry,” he said.
The work and life experiences Titus received along the way have proven valuable to him as he is a grain and livestock farmer with his wife, Breann Conrady-Titus’, family near Elkhart. They are the parents of two children. Titus served in 2014-16 as the US Farmers and Ranch Alliance’s Faces of Farming & Ranching spokesperson and is a graduate of the National Pork Producer Council’s (NPPC) Leadership Academy.
Titus still continues to share his farm stories using social media and attending consumer-driven events to help rebuild the relationship with the American farmer and maintain trust in the food system.
“As a farmer, I am always looking for opportunities that allow me to do my job better with an effort to leave the farm and the land in a better state for the next generation. We are always seeking to better care for our animals and land through conservation, better animal care practices, and a continued focus upon involvement of the next generation of farmers,” continued Titus.
“This scholarship is a unique opportunity for young individuals with aspirations within agriculture. I highly encourage them to apply and use this as a springboard to add value to their agricultural career,” said Titus.
To be considered for the 2018 Douglas County Ag Center Scholarship, successful applicants must meet the following requirements:
- From Douglas County and enrolled in an agriculture-related field of study.
- Completed one semester of college course work.
- Submit a copy of college transcript.
- Submit a letter of application telling about yourself (500 word maximum)
Scholarships for the Douglas County Ag Center Scholarship should be submitted to the Douglas County Farm Bureau at 105 N. Main Street, Tuscola, IL 61953 by Feb. 23. For more information about the Douglas County Ag Center Scholarship, contact Pat Titus at 217-202-5204 or Dennis Ochs at 217-202-2333.