(NewsUSA) – State fairs are not only a summer tradition, but they also play an important role in U.S. agriculture. State and county fairs put a spotlight on an essential part of the global economy, while also providing a platform for skilled young farmers to demonstrate their expertise in the food and farm industry.
During this year’s Governor’s Sale of Champions, CME Group presented the champion livestock exhibitors with one-time scholarships totaling $45,000. Each of these nine hard-working students will receive a $5,000 scholarship, which will be used to advance their education. Recipients of the 2023 CME Group scholarships included: Bryce Clayton (Scott County, IL); Kashen Ellerbrock (Henry County, IL); Nolan Hoge (McDonough County, IL); Owen Pree (Iroquois County, IL); Maddox Reedy (Douglas County, IL); Hunter Shike (Champaign County, IL); Trig Stoller (Woodford County, IL); Chesney Thorton (McLean County, IL); Lilian Unger (Kankakee County, IL).
“We are proud to celebrate agriculture here in Illinois and all over the world through our support of the Illinois State Fair,” said Derek Sammann, Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Commodities, Options & International Markets at CME Group. “We applaud all scholarship recipients this year for their commitment to agriculture and their communities. State fairs provide an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the vital role U.S. farmers and ranchers play in the global food system, and our investment in these students will help cultivate the next generation of leaders in agribusiness.”
CME Group also purchased the Grand Champion Barrow, which was exhibited by Hunter Shike and sponsored this year’s 4-H Illinois Superior Young Livestock Producers Contest at the fair. 58 4-H members from across Illinois competed in the skillathon contest and engaged in hands-on challenges in livestock management, livestock marketing and hedging, breed identification and use, quality assurance and equipment identification and use. The contest promotes youth development, career development, and personal growth through increased knowledge of the livestock industry.
The nine champions each received a $1,000 CME Group scholarship to continue their education. Recipients of the 2023 CME Group Skillathon scholarships were: Jay Blider (Christian County, IL); Bayla Crouch (Woodford County, IL); Audry Curtain (Christian County, IL); Natalie Evans (Morgan County, IL); Carson Knittnel (McLean County, IL); Rhett Lehman (Moultrie County, IL); Isabel Pistouris (Christian County, IL); Hunter Shike (Champaign County, IL); Ben Wamsley (Christian County, IL).
This was the eighth year CME Group has provided scholarships at the Illinois State Fair, bringing total contributions to over $400,000.