Farm Bureau scholarship helps future veterinarians

MADISON – A scholarship from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation is helping grow the next crop of veterinarians at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Veterinary Medicine.

"Wisconsin farmers will always need an ample supply of veterinarians to help care for their animals, therefore the Wisconsin Farm Bureau is very proud to continue to offer this scholarship funding to deserving individuals," said Roger Cliff, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's Chief Administrative Officer. 

Melissa Haag is this year's recipient of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Scholarship. A committee selects recipients for the scholarship based on their interest in practicing medicine with large, farm livestock, having a farm background, Farm Bureau affiliation, academics and financial need.

Haag will receive $3,000 over the course of two years. More than $45,000 has been awarded to 44 individuals since the scholarship was endowed in 1985.

"The Farm Bureau was a leader in originally getting the veterinary school built in 1983, and we endowed the scholarship fund two years after its completion," Cliff said. "Now in 2011 with rural Wisconsin facing a shortage of large animal veterinarians, the need for these veterinarians remains critically important to agriculture's long-term success."


Melissa Haag is a Fond du Lac native who first began working with animals on her grandparents" farm, as a 4-H member, and at a local pet boarding facility. During her undergraduate study at UW-Madison, she met her future husband, Josh Haag, a dairy farmer from Dane County.

"Through him, I developed my strong love of farming and dairy cattle," Haag said. "I became very active with the farm and helping with the cattle. I also developed a relationship with the local veterinary clinic and worked with the large animal veterinarians. These experiences helped me decide that a career in large animal medicine was definitely what I wanted to pursue."

Following graduation she would like to work at a large animal veterinary clinic in southwestern Wisconsin as a general dairy practitioner, but eventually would like to focus on embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization technologies.

"As part owner of a small family farm in Dane County, I truly appreciate all of the hard work that the Farm Bureau does to advocate on behalf of the agricultural community in the state of Wisconsin," Haag wrote in a thank you letter to Farm Bureau. "Your financial support of myself and other veterinary students is yet another of the many ways your organization contributes to the success of Wisconsin's food animal industry."

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest general farm organization, representing farms of all sizes, commodities and management styles.