IA scholarship winners 2022: Tostenson, Williams

Discover what brought the 2022 Anthony W. “Tony” LaFetra Scholarship Program recipients into the irrigation industry, their future career plans and industry experience.
Learn about Hannah Williams and Mary Logan Tostenson, two of the 18 winners of the IA's 2022 Anthony W. “Tony” LaFetra Scholarship Program.

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.

Mary Logan Tostenson

Graduate student at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Graduation date: May 13, 2023

How and why did you get involved in agriculture?

My exposure to agriculture started at a young age being that I grew up in a small farming town where agriculture is our number one economic driver and the basis of our community. But I got heavily involved with agriculture in high school because of a very influential ag teacher, Adrienne Smith. My agricultural education experience intertwined with the National FFA Organization gave me a foundation that led to me continue to pursue a degree in agriculture, complete many internships, and now working on my Master of Science degree.

What experience do you have in the agriculture industry?

Over the course of my collegiate career, I have interned with Nutrien Ag Solutions, Corteva Agriscience as a commercial sales intern, and with Corteva Agriscience as a field research intern at one of their pioneer breeding stations. Additionally, I helped found the University of Georgia Young Farmers and Ranchers club in 2019, I was a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences ambassador, a member of Block and Bridle, and am a member of AGHON.

Currently, I am working as a graduate research assistant under Dr. Wesley Porter. Because of the nature of my role and my major professor’s job as a precision ag and irrigation extension specialist, I have the opportunity to interact with UGA’s extension system, which allows me to work with extension agents, farmers and industry personnel.

What is a personal accomplishment within the agriculture industry that you’re proud of?

The people I have been exposed to and relationships that I have built. It is hard for me to take much credit for my career success because it has not been done alone or without the guidance of some very influential people in this industry. I appreciate, respect and love the production agricultural industry because I am constantly learning and working towards something bigger than myself.

What kind of career in agriculture are you working toward?

My ultimate goal is to be able to work hand-in-hand with production row crop farmers in the Southeast to better their operations through implementing precision ag technology while still focusing on the agronomics and economics of these farms. It is extremely important to me that the tradition and lifestyle of American farms are not lost, and I hope that my career will always benefit farmers.

What does smart irrigation mean to you?

Smart irrigation is making onfarm decisions that benefit the farmer, the crop being produced and the surrounding environment. My current research specifically deals with cover crops and soil moisture sensors with the end goal to provide answers to farmers that help cut down on water usage, erosion and runoff while still achieving desirable yields, improving soil water holding capacity and increasing soil nutrient levels.

Hannah Williams

Undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
Graduation date: May 10, 2025

How and why did you get involved in agriculture?

I got involved in agriculture at a very young age because I grew up on a farm. I was always helping out, and when I wasn’t busy with that, I would just like to be around it all. In high school I was involved in many agriculture programs also.

What experience do you have in the agriculture industry?

I have lots of experience in the agriculture field. I currently have an internship with a parts dealership as a marketing intern. I have also had many shadowing experiences with the agriculture career path. I was very involved in Future Farmers of America in high school and 4-H as a kid.

What is a personal accomplishment within the agriculture industry that you’re proud of?

In FFA I had the opportunity to compete at state competitions and receive awards. I am also proud that I was able to job shadow many different people in the industry so that I knew what would interest me best for my future career.

What kind of career are you working toward?

The career that I am working towards is currently ag business, something that interests me is the sales part.

What does smart irrigation mean to you?

To me, smart irrigation means making the most of the water that you are putting on your crops. Irrigation is a very import piece to what helps to make the crops grow. With smart irrigation you can control and better understand the right amount of water and when to apply the water.

Read about the other 2022 LaFetra Scholarship winners.

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