LETHBRIDGE, AB – Lauren Machacek is on top of the world.
The 22-year old is the recipient of the inaugural $10,000 Rotary Exhibition Park Agricultural Scholarship.
The Taber-area native was honoured at a special dinner by the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East and Exhibition Park Thursday night.
Machacek is a fourth-year student at the University of Lethbridge who hopes to break into the field of agricultural business (agribusiness).
“My dream goal is in succession planning for farmers,” she told LethbridgeNewsNOW during the event at Heritage Hall.
“Succession farming is something that’s relevant for all farmers and will be very important for future generations and especially for someone like myself who wants to work on the business side of things, it’s a perfect fit with what I love and what I’m good at.”
Machacek said she was inspired to work in the agri-business, with a focus in succession farming, while she was with the 4H program. She said she was in three clubs over her nine-year run with 4H, including two clubs at the same time.
Machacek is the first-ever recipient of the scholarship, which was developed last fall.
“It’s definitely an awesome point that the Rotary Club and the Exhibition are really hitting the nail on the head,” she said, noting how important it is to have a scholarship like this for future agricultural students.
“In my interview I even asked them, ‘why agriculture? Why is this important for you?’ and they answered it (well). They said, ‘in Southern Alberta this is where we’re headed…and we need to support the students and have them stay in the local industry. I cannot thank them enough, I think it’s a deserving cause and somewhere that is really going to be growing in the next generation.”
Machacek is working towards a major in finance and a minor in agricultural management at the University of Lethbridge.
“Following that I’d like to work a couple of years in the field before I can apply to get my master’s in business, but I’d eventually like to go forward to go to Edmonton to get my MBA,” she said.
Machacek noted that the scholarship will help her get out into the community, attend conference and not worry about “the financial struggles of being a student”.
Throughout her schooling, she’s stayed connected to the agricultural community by serving on the executive committees of both the Aggies Club and Business Club at the U of L.
For the last three summers, she’s worked for the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation as a customer service representative and crop insurance adjuster.
She also took part in the practicum Cor Van Raay Case competitions in 2017 and 2018.
“I can’t believe all the excitement I have right now,” she said after being presented the scholarship.
“It was really nerve-wracking getting into it (applying for the scholarship) but it’s really exciting to see the city of Lethbridge come together and the amount of support that they show students, especially in agriculture like myself and how willing they were to help me with this.”
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