Three Tennessee youth were awarded the Kenneth Ambrose Memorial Heifer Scholarship recently during the Martin Farms Open House at the Farm September 26-27 in Lyles. Collin Stanley of College Grove, Aaron Lay of Madisonville, and Lindsey Parsley of Readyville each received a $1,500 scholarship toward the purchase of a Simmental or SimAngus heifer from the Open House offering. Scholarship donors were Martin Farms, Water’s Edge Farm of Franklin, and Slate Farms & Cattle of Vanleer.
Founders Neil and Christopher Martin started their Heifer Starter Kit program in 2006, enlisting additional donors in 2012 when the program was renamed the after their late friend and mentor, Kenneth Ambrose. Ambrose was a former University of Tennessee agricultural extension agent and a great enthusiast for the 4-H youth livestock program.
After submitting an application and a project representing the applicant’s interests and involvement in the beef industry, eleven finalists were invited to Lyles for panel interviews September 26. Other finalists included Sydney Brady of Cleveland; Riley Bright, Rockwood; Hayden Campbell of Roseland, Virginia; Cole Ledford, Cleveland; Molly Ralston, Rockvale; Riley Reed, Lyles; and Kara Stofel, Columbia. Finalists evaluated cattle and made their selections based on phenotype, pedigree, and EPDs before facing a panel interview to discuss their selection criteria as well as their projects and plans to continue their involvement.
“The interview process gives us an opportunity to interact with the applicants and to learn more about their background and their plans,” says Chris Martin. “The intent is to encourage and foster participation in the beef project, and we try to make it an educational and enjoyable experience.”
Both Neil and Chris recognize the integral role mentors played in their experiences and involvement growing up on a farm where they were encouraged by leaders from the agricultural community. In 1964, Neil became the first FFA member from Hickman County to receive the American Farmer degree. Twenty-one years later, Chris was named a National 4-H Project Winner with Ambrose as his 4-H agent.
“Kenneth was directly responsible for a lot of kids becoming involved in 4-H, and he fueled their accomplishments by coaching them toward success,” says Christopher Martin. “This program recognizes and remembers Kenneth’s spirit and enthusiasm toward youth and agriculture.”
Additional donors who supported the initiative include Performance Feeds; ABS Global; Barry Ellis and Accelerated Genetics; Genex Cooperative; Select Sires; Patricia McDougal AI Services; Cattlemen’s Choice Genetics; Farm Credit Mid America; Mix 30 Liquid Feeds; Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association; and Jane Herron State Farm. An online semen auction hosted by Livestock360.com prior to Martin’s Open House raised additional funds to help alternates purchase a heifer of their own. Seven alternates purchased heifers out of the Open House sale, using vouchers worth $422 each toward their purchase.
Anyone interested in applying for 2015 Kenneth Ambrose Memorial Heifer Scholarship can visit MartinFarmsBeef.com for more information.