MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WROF) is honored to announce Reed Mertens as the recipient of the WROF Premier Scholarship. This award is presented to a high school graduate who is pursuing a college degree here in Wisconsin with plans to return and thrive in a rural community. There were over 130 extremely qualified candidates that a committee of rural leaders vetted carefully and selected one overall winner to receive $5,000 towards their education.
Reed Mertens is a 2021 Thorp High School graduate and will be continuing his education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The son of James and Kimberly, Reed was raised on dairy goat farm where his family milks 300 goats. He assists daily with milking, animal health, and feeding. His own herd of goats has grown to 30 head. Reed is also an accomplished outdoorsman. In the spring, he enjoys making maple syrup, fishing during the summer, and the fall hunting season.
Mertens graduated first in his class with a 4.0 GPA. During his high school tenure, he was active in football, serving as team captain his junior and senior years. He was also involved in track and field, FFA, National Honor Society, band, drama, the youth apprenticeship program, and the student run company of Sparks N’ Sawdust.
“I chose to major in agricultural business because my passion resides in agriculture. I chose ag business over other ag degrees because I noticed people have trouble, at times, understanding the relationship between business and farming. I hope to take over the family farm after college so I decided to go to college to get a degree that will hopefully help me improve and expand my goat dairy,” says Mertens.
“WROF is thrilled to award this scholarship to Reed Mertens. Reed wants to return to rural Wisconsin upon graduation from college and rural Wisconsin needs his abilities and drive. Our scholarship will allow him to focus on his studies, earn his bachelor’s degree and not worry about how he will finance his education. That’s a win-win for Reed and rural Wisconsin,” states Joan Behr, WROF Board President.
The Premier Scholarship was presented for the first-time last year. The inaugural winner was Peyton Mykel-Marie Clark from Ontario, Wisconsin. After a busy summer working on her home farm, taking two summer classes and showing cows at local fairs, Peyton is taking five classes this fall as she pursues her degree in Elementary Education.
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.
— Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc.
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