DES MOINES, IOWA — In 2021, the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation — the philanthropic arm of Niman Ranch— has awarded over $170,000 in scholarships and grants to 39 young farmers and future rural leaders from nine states.  

With this most recent round of giving, the Foundation has distributed over one million dollars through 363 scholarships and grants since 2006 when the program was started. Recipients use these funds to defray the cost of higher education or invest in getting started on the farm, helping more young farmers stay on the land and support their rural communities. The scholarship and grant awards are made possible through the generous support of Niman Ranch partners from across the country. 

The scholarship and grant recipients were announced during Niman Ranch’s 23rd annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner. Additionally, this year for the first time, the Next Generation Foundation awarded two grants for young farmers to invest in their operations. Securing initial financing as a young farmer is one of the most challenging and critical aspects of getting started—this new grant eases this transition.  

“The recipients of these scholarships and grants provide hope and inspiration for the future. Their experience on Niman Ranch farms instill them with a strong work ethic and deep commitment to sustainable agriculture and their rural communities,” said Alicia LaPorte, executive director of the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation. “We are humbled and grateful for Niman Ranch’s customers, partners and others who made generous donations this year to support these deserving young leaders.” 

At the award ceremony, Niman Ranch recognized seventeen farm families for twenty years of partnership with the brand.  

“We are so grateful to the farm families who have been with us on the Niman Ranch journey for twenty years,” said Paul Willis, Niman Ranch’s founding hog farmer. “When I started Niman Ranch’s pork company in 1995, I could only dream of where we are today. These farm families have been core partners to Niman Ranch and shared believers in our mission for a better food system.”  

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