North Central Co-op awards more than $10,000 in scholarships

WABASH, IN -- North Central Co-op awarded 10 NCC scholarships to local recipients for use toward educational expenses this coming school year. Since 2001, NCC has awarded over 90 scholarships totaling over $100,000 to award deserving high school seniors with at least five years of 4-H and/or two years of FFA involvement.

NCC is proud to award the first annual NCC scholarship at Huntington University. This local university started an agriculture program in 2015, and NCC will offer this scholarship to a student enrolled in this program next fall. In addition to the Huntington University scholarship, NCC established the Darrell L. Smith Honorary Scholarship as a way to honor the commitment and service of former NCC CEO Darrell Smith upon his retirement in 2012. Darrell’s contributions to NCC established a stronger pathway forward and a renewed commitment to our local communities and the agricultural industry. This scholarship is awarded to a junior enrolled in a four-year, agriculture-related program who has expressed a sincere desire to continue a career in agriculture.

North Central Co-op is a full-service agricultural supply company that is 100 percent farmer owned with its headquarters located in Wabash, Ind. If you are interested in learning more about North Central Coop, please visit our website at

Students are designated for their early contributions to local agricultural programs and in gratitude for their family members’ contributions to NCC, as every chosen student has parents or grandparents that are actively involved at NCC as stockholders, patrons, or team members. Students selected must be entering their freshman year in an associate or bachelor degree program, or a technical/trade school.

The 2016 recipients are listed below.

Huntington University Scholarship - Jaron Lewton of LaGrange, IN: Jaron is a sophomore at Huntington pursuing a degree in agribusiness. Jaron’s future plans are to enroll in a school of veterinary medicine.

Darrell L. Smith Honorary Scholarship - Emmale Blough of Lowell, MI: Emmalee is a junior at Michigan State University pursuing a degree in food science with a minor in human nutrition. Emmalee plans to work in the agricultural industry by assisting consumers with nutrition questions.

NCC High School Scholarships

Region 1: Cass, Miami, Hamilton, Howard, Wabash, Huntington and Kosciusko counties in Indiana

Patrisha Hartley of Logansport, IN: Patrisha is the daughter of Greg and Mary Hartley and will graduate from Lewis Cass High School. Patrisha will be attending Purdue this fall to pursue a degree in agribusiness.

Gabrielle Harvey of Royal Center, IN: Gabrielle is the daughter of Mark and Emily Harvey and will graduate from Pioneer High School. Gabrielle plans to attend Purdue University and pursue a degree in agricultural communications.

Lane Eckrote of Macy, IN: Lane is the son of Jerry and Amy Eckrote and will graduate from North Miami High School. Lane will attend Northeast Iowa Community College this fall and pursue a degree in beef science technology.

Region 2: Elkhart, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and DeKalb counties in Indiana plus Michigan counties of Cass, St. Joseph and Branch

Alexa Ratkowski of Bronson, MI: Alexa is the daughter of Gary and Lorinda Ratkowski and will graduate from Bronson High School. Alexa will attend Central Michigan University this fall and pursue a degree in elementary education.

Leah Hefty of Auburn, IN: Leah is the daughter of Micah and Danielle Hefty and will graduate from DeKalb High School. Leah will attend Purdue University this fall and pursue a degree in agribusiness and science education.

Region 3: Fulton, Marshall, Pulaski and St. Joseph counties in Indiana

Gretchen Blackburn of Francesville, IN: Gretchen is the daughter of John and Rebecca Blackburn and will graduate from West Central High School. Gretchen will pursue a degree from Purdue University this fall in animal science.

Trevor Neidlinger of Plymouth, IN: Trevor is the son of Stuart and Melissa Neidlinger and will graduate from Plymouth High School. Trevor is planning on attending Purdue University to pursue a degree in computer science.

Region 4: Newaygo, Oceana and Mason counties in Michigan

Leta Larsen of Scottville, MI: Leta is the daughter of Burke and Lisa Larsen and will graduate from Mason County Central High School. Leta will enter the agribusiness management program at Michigan State University this fall.