Jim Rutherford Conservation Scholarship
The Jim Rutherford Scholarship has been established by the McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District to assist outstanding agricultural students at any Illinois College. The student awarded the scholarship should demonstrate superior agricultural academic achievement, commitment to soil and water conservation and potential for innovation and/or leadership ability. The Jim Rutherford Scholarship is awarded in the fall semester of the academic year. This scholarship fund is made possible by generous donations from local donors. Each year an annual Golf Outing is held to raise the necessary funds. Help support the next generation of local agri-business professionals! To make a donation, please contact our office.
2020 Scholarship Winners
Madison Kraft, daughter of Mike and Malisa Kraft, is a Towanda native attending Black Hawk
College this fall to pursue a degree in Natural Resources/Wildlife Management. During her
years at Normal Community High School she was involved in Choir, Key Club and served as FFA
President and Secretary. Madison also served as Section 9 FFA officer team as secretary.
Ashlyn Mool, daughter of David and Shelia Mool, is a graduate of ElPaso-Gridley High School.
This fall she will attend Illinois Central College to pursue a degree in Agriculture Education. In
high school she was involved in volleyball, basketball, track, student council and FFA. Ashlyn
served as FFA director, treasurer and reporter.
2019 Scholarship Winners
2017 Scholarship Winners
Craig Birkenbeil, son of Jason and Sherry Birkenbeil, is a Lexington native attending Joliet Junior College in the fall for a degree in crop production. Craig will be using this scholarship to further his education and educate others on best management practices to conserve our natural resources. His plan after college is to farm in Nebraska. During his years at Lexington High School, Craig was involved in basketball, baseball, and FFA. Craig served as FFA President and plot manager his senior year. He is also active in church youth group.
Victoria Medernach, daughter of Michael and Gina Medernach, is an Arrowsmith native attending Parkland Community College in the fall to pursue a degree in Agriculture Education. She plans to transfer to University of Nebraska Lincoln to continue her education and ultimately become an Ag teacher. Victoria also hopes to help on her family’s farm as much as possible. During her years at LeRoy High School, Victoria was active in student council, key club, drama club, and served as FFA president and secretary. She also volunteers at the local American Legion, Food Bank, and Festival of Trees.
2016 Scholarship Winners
Garrett Conaty, son of Dawn Conaty, is a LeRoy native attending Heartland Community College this fall for the agriculture course and ultimately transferring to Illinois State University to major in Agribusiness. Garrett plans to go back to the family farm after graduating from ISU and start a career as a salesman. While attending LeRoy High School, Garret was active in FFA, Wrestling, and Football. He is also active in 4-H and has served as Historian, Secretary, Vice-President, and President. Garrett is the ninth generation to be active on the family farm where they produce corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa and other hay, raise beef cattle and Katahdin sheep.
Blake Edwards, son of Kevin and Karen Edwards, is a Lexington native attending Joliet Junior College in the fall for Ag Supply Business. Blake hopes to acquire an internship during his sophomore year at a seed and chemical dealer or grain handling facility and obtain a position with that company following his internship. During his years at Lexington High School, Blake was involved in FFA, F.L.O.A.T.S (freshman mentoring program), baseball, football, and community garden.
2015 Scholarship Winners
Nickolas Parkhouse, son of Kevin and Dee Parkhouse, is a Gridley native attending Illinois State University this fall for Agribusiness. Nick’s goal for college is to graduate in four years and has interest in not only Agribuisness, but the science aspects of agronomy as well. While attending El Paso-Gridley High School, Nick was active in many extracurricular activities, including FFA, Mu Alpha Theta, Show Choir, Choir, Youth in Harmony, Golf, Basketball, and Baseball. Nick was also active in the Trinity Lutheran Youth Group and worked at the El Paso Golf Club. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and golf in his free time.
William Patton, son of Mike and Niki Patton, is a Lexington native attending Illinois Central College this fall for Ag Production. Will is excited to gain more knowledge of grain and livestock farming. He plans to take his knowledge back to the family farm to boost efficiency and productivity. Will has been an active 4-H member of the Lexington Leprechauns for 10 years, where he has held various positions and participated in many activities. While attending school in Lexington, Will held multiple positions in FFA and played many sports, including Football and Track. Will is currently doing ground maintenance at the Brandt Research Plot in Lexington and has learned much about the Nitrogen run-off study being conducted there.