QUEENSTOWN — The Maryland Grain Producers announced the winners of their 2020 scholarship during the Commodity Classic Thursday, July 23. The four recipients receiving $2,500 toward continuing their education in an agricultural degree are: Mitchell Debnam of Kennedyville, Jordan Wilmer of Centreville, Jennifer Gannon of Centreville, and Austin Nickerson of Worton.
“Providing financial assistance to the future of agriculture is important to the Grain Producers Board. These students are working hard to learn about new and upcoming technology and practices to improve Agricultures future,” said Evan Miles, president of the Maryland Grain Producers Association.
Every year, there is an 11% shortage of agriculture graduates to fill professional positions in the field of agriculture. The Maryland Grain Producers Association uses funds raised through the Maryland Grain Checkoff Program to encourage and support future leaders who will help ensure that agricultural production remains a viable industry in Maryland.
Currently attending the University of Northwestern Ohio, Mitchell Debnam is working toward a dual major in agriculture equipment technology and diesel technician. Mitchell was raised in Kennedyville on his family’s multi-generational grain and swine operation.
At a young age, Mitchell began helping his family with daily activities and was an active member in the Kent Clover Calf 4-H Club, where he exhibited dairy and livestock at local, regional, and state shows.
In 2018, Mitchell traveled as Maryland’s representative to National 4-H Congress and was awarded Kent 4-H I Dare You Award. Last year, Mitchell graduated from Kent County High School where he was involved in FFA and baseball.
After graduating as a Diesel technician, Mitchell would like to return to the family farm after working full-time for a local dealership as an agriculture equipment technician to improve his skill and gain experience.
From Centreville, Jordan Wilmer graduated from Queen Anne’s County High School in 2017. During high school, Jordan was active as a food bank and Family Affair Farms volunteer, Vacation Bible School leader, football player, and FFA member.
Jordan recently got accepted into Penn State-World College working toward a degree in agribusiness management after two successful years at Chesapeake College graduating with an Associate of Applied Science in Agriculture with a production concentration.
While attending college, Jordan has worked full-time as a poultry house manager for Black Dog Farms, while helping Chestnut Manor Farms with crop production. He began an internship with them in 2016 learning about grain and poultry production.
After graduation, Jordan plans to raise broilers of his own with a grain production farm.
Raised on a grain and livestock farm in Centreville, Jennifer Gannon works alongside her family while also working at Southern States and Talbot Extension part-time.
Jennifer graduated from Chesapeake College with an associate’s degree in allied health in the spring of 2020. This fall, Jennifer will be attending Delaware State University, enrolled in their agriculture business program and plans to be a part of their equestrian team.
Jennifer plans to work for a fertilizer or seed company after graduation while continuing to work on her family’s operation.
At Queen Anne’s County High School, Jennifer was an active FFA member serving as the chapter president and participating in a variety of competitions. Today, Jennifer serves as their horse judging coach and has judged the regional public speaking contest.
For 15 years, Jennifer was a member of the Pony Express 4-H Club and served a variety of office positions including chapter president. She showed horses and sheep for her 4-H project.
Austin Dutch Nickerson
Graduating from The Gunston School in 2018, Austin Nickerson of Worton is attending The University of Delaware to major in agriculture and natural resources.
Austin was raised on a grain farm where his mother, Kristen, works full-time. He has been a part of the operation for as long as he can remember. Growing up, Austin was active in 4-H and later attended National 4-H Congress.
He was named National Tractor Operator Champion in 2017 with Perdue University.
Austin has spent time volunteering for the Kent County Fair and Still Pond Church. After graduating High School, Austin attended Chesapeake College before transferring to a four-year university.
With his degree from Delaware, Austin would like to continue farming traditional row crops and include an animal operation. Austin will continue to grow his already established seedling tree planting business while attending college full-time.