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Ryan Donkers: Ada and Helmuth Schroeder Scholarship recipient

Ryan Donkers is a recent recipient of the Ada and Helmuth Schroeder Scholarship from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation. He was an active member of Rice County 4-H.

Ryan grew up on a hog farm, which is where his passion lies. Ever since joining 4-H, he has been involved in various aspects of the swine project. He has shown and taken part in swine interviews, as well as general livestock judging. Additionally, Ryan has been a swine interview and showmanship judge at various fairs around his home county.

In 6th grade, Ryan became involved in Rice County 4-H Swine Project Development Committee.  This committee helped Ryan develop leadership skills as they put on various swine workshops, planned for the county fair, and devised way to strengthen youth learning in the project area.  The skills and knowledge Ryan has gained from his 4-H experiences equipped Ryan start his own show hog business. He started out by helping different 4-H families prepare their hogs for the fair. Over time, the business has grown to include feeding education as well as support during purchases and on show day. Ryan has learned many skills from this business including professionalism and financial management.

Outside of the swine project, Ryan was a Rice County 4-H ambassador since 8th grade. In this role, he promoted Rice County 4-H throughout the community and put on various activities like the Fairbault Community Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Ryan also served a term as the Rice County 4-H Federation President, participated in Citizen Washington Focus in Washington D.C., and was a Minnesota delegate at the National 4-H Conference last year.

Throughout his 4-H years, Ryan has participated in many community service projects including: Adopt a Highway, organizing a Toys for Tots campaign, and coordinating a hat and mitten tree for disadvantaged youth during Christmas. Throughout the Fairbault community, Ryan has done service projects with First United Bank Junior Board of Directors, Big Brother Big Sister, and National Honors Society, and worked with a State Farm representative to highlight the dangers of distracted driving.  Volunteering has taught him the importance of positive role models on youth in the community.

Ryan would like to give back to 4-H as an adult leader, continuing to serve on the swine Project Development Committee, and maybe even join the state fair swine committee.

Currently, Ryan is attending the University of Minnesota studying agriculture. After graduation, Ryan would like to work in a company that concentrates on swine management and/or crop production.  Eventually, he hopes to return to his family farm, steadily increasing the number of hogs raised and implementing sustainability practices to carry their farm into future generations.

by Kristin Lawstuen
Fillmore County 4-H alum

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