Two from Mount Sterling receive money from Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation

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MOUNT STERLING, Ill. — The Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation, the philanthropic arm of sustainable and humane meat pioneer Niman Ranch, recently awarded nearly $250,000 in scholarships and grants to young farmers and future rural leaders. This is the largest annual amount the foundation has awarded since the program started in 2006, supporting 53 young people across nine states.

Included in the 53 grant and scholarship recipients are Morgan Wegs and Peyton Wegs, both of Mount Sterling.

In a press release, Elle Gadient, Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation board chair and past scholarship recipient, said, “Beginning farmers and ranchers face numerous barriers getting started, from technical knowledge to land and capital access. The Next Generation Foundation scholarships and grants provide opportunity and hope for the future of family-scale farming by investing in young people dedicated to stewardship and animal care.”

The scholarships are used by recipients to offset the cost of higher education. The grants, up to $10,000, are investments to support humane animal care and regenerative agriculture practices to provide opportunity for more young and beginning farmers. The foundation also awarded six gilt grants to beginning Niman Ranch hog farmers. The gilt grant matches farmer investments in breeding stock to expand their hog herd as well as providing business planning support, regular education sessions and farmer mentorship.

Collectively with the support from companies that sell Niman Ranch products, the consumers who serve Niman Ranch to their families and the farmers who raise the premium product, the foundation has invested more than $1.4 million in hundreds of young leaders committed to sustainable agriculture and thriving rural communities.

Niman Ranch is a community of more than 600 independent family farmers and ranchers who raise pork, beef and lamb.

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