MMPA awards 10 scholarships to MSU Dairy Management students

Since 1971, MMPA has sponsored scholarships for MMPA members, their children and employees enrolled in the Agricultural Technology Dairy Management program at Michigan State University. The scholarship program was initiated to encourage students to become involved in dairy production and management careers. The scholarships are based on academics, involvement in the dairy industry and letters of recommendation.

MMPA First-Year Scholarships

Shelby Berens is in her first semester of the MSU Dairy Management program. Shelby is from Holland where her family milks a small herd of Holsteins and Guernseys.  Shelby has already invested in the family business, owning three registered Holsteins. In the future, she plans to transfer into the four year animal science program at MSU and pursue a career in the dairy industry. She is a member of the MSU Dairy Club and State 4-H Judging Team.

Rachel Ekkel is from Fremont where she’s involved on her family’s 100-cow dairy operation, of which Rachel owns seven cows. In high school, Rachel was involved in 4-H and FFA. At MSU, she is involved in dairy cattle judging and the MSU Dairy Club. After graduation, Rachel plans to return to the family farm, increase the herd size and achieve the goal of breeding a winning national show cow.

Evelyn Okkema is from Blanchard where she works on her family’s 450-cow dairy operation and owns one dairy cow. In high school, Evelyn was active in 4-H, Yellow Ribbon Group, National Honors Society, Model UN, Yearbook, Band and the Montcalm Career Center. Currently, she’s a member of the MSU Dairy Club and the State 4-H Dairy Judging Team. She plans to return to her family farm and become a 4-H leader in her county.


First-Year Employee Scholarships

Zeke Breuninger, a native of Dexter, works on his father’s 400-cow dairy farm, of which Zeke owns 15 cows. In high school, Zeke was on the wrestling team, won a MIPA Honorable Mention award in journalism, and was on the State Dairy Judging Team and the National Livestock Judging Team. Now at MSU, Zeke is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, the MSU Dairy Club and the wrestling club. After graduation he intends to work in the agriculture industry, before coming back home to work on his home dairy farm.

Seth Hulst, of Coopersville, is employed on MMPA member Paul Courtade’s 60-cow dairy farm. In high school, he won the Zeeland Positive Impact Award and now at MSU, he is a member of the dairy club. After graduation, Seth plans to return to his employer’s operation and work to modernize the farm.


MMPA Second Year Scholarships

Terry Grieser, of Lakeview, works on his family farm milking 60 Jersey cows and personally owns 10 cows. In high school, Terry played football, wrestling and showed dairy and swine in 4-H. Terry has an internship with the MSU Dairy Farm and plans to return home after graduation to work on his family farm and another local farm.

David Krafft is from Frankenmuth where he’s involved on his family’s 100-cow dairy operation. In high school, David played baseball and football and served with his church on a mission trip. At MSU, he plays club baseball, and after graduation he plans to join his father back on the family farm.

Cara Perkins is from Hudson, Indiana where she works on her family’s dairy operation, where they milk 475 cows. In high school, Cara was active in the Prairie Heights FFA chapter, LaGrange County 4-H, Stroh Church of Christ Youth Group, high school yearbook staff and National Honors Society. Currently, she’s a member of the MSU Dairy Club and plans to return to her family farm, focusing on the nutritional needs of the herd after graduation.


Second-Year Employee Scholarships

Kayla Holsten is from Milan and works for Brian Sweetland milking 50 cows. In high school, she served as chapter president for the Saline FFA chapter and 4-H. At MSU, Kayla is a member of the Dairy Club and was part of the winning team at the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest in Madison in 2014. She is a member of the Ag. Tech Dairy Judging team and this past summer, she travelled to Europe for dairy judging. She hopes to obtain a position as a herdsperson on a dairy after graduation.

Scott Lokker, is from Hudsonville and is employed on Tim Baker’s farm where they milk 75 cows. In high school, he was on the honor roll all four years and played tennis. Now in college, he is a member of the MSU Dairy Club and participated in the dairy challenge. After graduation, Scott hopes to work as a herdsman.

MMPA scholarship recipients recognized at the 2015 Leaders’ Conference. Pictured, back row (l-r): David Krafft, Scott Lokker, Seth Hulst and Shelby Berens. Front row (l-r): Zeke Breuninger, Terry Grieser, Cara Perkins, Rachel Ekkel and Eveyln Okkema.


Learn more about MMPA Scholarships