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The Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc. (WCO) recently awarded two scholarships to students pursuing further education. These students were selected based on leadership, civic engagement, academics and volunteer activities related to agriculture. Students also submitted essays detailing their educational and vocational plans for the future. Scholarship winners are required to have ties to the WCO – either as a member, relative of a member or employee of a member. Students received a $1000 scholarship.

“WCO understands that the foundation for the continued success of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy depends on a well-educated workforce,” said Dr. Kevin Shinners, chairman of the WCO Scholarship Committee and professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We also recognize that the high-cost of additional education can impact this need.”;

Tyler Cross

Racheal Osterhaus

Winners of the 2019 WCO scholarships include: Tyler Cross, Poynette, is a first-year student in the Farm and Industry Short Course program at UW-Madison. He is an employee of WCO member D & J Manthe Chopping Service. Racheal Osterhaus, Chadwick, Ill., is a junior at UW-Platteville, majoring in animal science with a minor in biology. She is the daughter of WCO member Silver Streak Ag Services.

Applications for the 2020 WCO scholarship are being accepted through May 1. Interested students should visit for more information including eligibility, criteria and application.

Changes to the program: There are two significant shifts in 2020 to the program: First, the scholarship committee created the “Robert Hoerth Memorial Scholarship” to honor WCO Past President Robert Hoerth who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. This $1,500 award will be given to the most deserving scholarship applicant based on their alignment to the overall criteria. In addition to this award, two (2) $1,000 scholarships will be given for a total of three (3) awards.

The second shift in the program is for eligibility. As in year’s past, applicants may have direct family ties to a current WCO member or to an employee of a WCO member. Applicants may also be a member themselves. New for 2020, A WCO member may sponsor a scholarship applicant who does not meet the above criteria. For example, if a WCO member has a customer who has an exemplary son, daughter or employee, they would be eligible to apply.

About the Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc.: WCO is an organization comprised of individuals throughout the state who derive their income in whole or part from providing custom farming services. To learn more about the Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc. including membership and events, go to or email

Tweet about this: @WICustomOps honors Tyler Cross from @UWMadisonCALS and Racheal Osterhaus from @uwplatteville as #scholarship winners. Applications for 2020 due May 1. #highereducation #customfarming #agscholarships