In this series, learn more about the 18 recipients of the Irrigation Association’s 2022 Anthony W. “Tony” LaFetra Scholarship Program sponsored by Rain Bird, given to college students studying and pursuing careers in the irrigation field.
The scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, were awarded based on the candidate’s letter of intent, financial need, resume, list of irrigation courses and letters of reference.
Since the program’s inception in 2016, 107 students have been awarded scholarships.
Growing up in rural Northern California, agriculture is a fundamental part of daily life. Even from a young age, I already knew agriculture was going to be a career path for me.
My experience in the agriculture industry includes being a very active member in the FFA Organization, as well as raising show cattle and market lambs, in addition to equine breeding management. After high school, my experiences shifted to working in aviation mechanics, and that greatly influenced my decision to purse ag engineering in college. Since being in Cal Poly’s BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department, I have gotten very involved in the water resource side of BRAE, and I currently work at Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training and Research Center as an engineering assistant and irrigation technician.
I am very proud to have received my American FFA Degree through the National FFA Organization, an award only 1% of members receive.
I am working toward a career in water infrastructure engineering and irrigation management.
To me, smart irrigation means using technology and irrigation scheduling to get more from less. We are facing a future where there will be less resources and still an equal, if not greater demand. With smart irrigation, we can be more productive and precise.
I seek to pursue a career in water design/irrigation. I found interest in this field from my adventures into the Stanislaus National Forest in California and exploring the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and Oakdale Irrigation District’s Tri-Dam Project. I found the dams and lakes interesting, which led me to notice the water infrastructure for irrigation use in the valley.
Most influential to my experience has been working a few summers for my father’s business repairing tractors for dairy farms. Additionally, I have been a part of FFA in high school, from which I’ve received an American FFA Degree, and clubs at Cal Poly: dairy club, Agriculture Engineering Society, and the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department’s Quarter Scale Tractor Team.
A personal achievement I am proud of in the agriculture industry is to be a student in Cal Poly’s BRAE program. The program is top-notch, hands-on, and the BRAE professors balance out the rigor by being approachable and helpful. There is an underlying pride that I have when I tell people about the BRAE program.
Following the path set by BRAE, I seek to pursue water/irrigation design projects. I desire to spread the innovation of California to other places, in the aspiration that by helping others, California’s water practices and issues can be improved upon.
Smart irrigation means being educated and proactive about your water. Some farmers use the best engineering firms and others use the same irrigation tactics their grandfathers taught them, but both can be smart as long as the farmer actively monitors and manages the irrigation system and is ready to make improvements when needed.
Read about the other 2022 LaFetra Scholarship winners.
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