Sanders receives garden club scholarship

“Being a sixth-generation agriculturist has allowed me to become committed to the industry with such passion,” said Megan Sanders. Sanders is the 2022 Custer Mile High Garden Club (Garden Club) Scholarship recipient. “Growing up on my family’s operation has shown me the hard work and dedication put forward by the past generations, and I want to continue that [commitment].”
A Hot Springs High School graduate, Sanders is attending South Dakota State University (SDSU) for a Bachelors in  Agricultural Education.
Sanders grew up on her family’s farm and ranch near Oral. They raise irrigated corn and alfalfa and have a commercial cow/calf operation. She has grown up eager to take on the responsibility for the business and now plays an integral role.
“When she was ten, Megan took out a Farm Service Agency Youth Loan to purchase five replacement heifers allowing her to start her own cattle herd,” said her mother, Kari Sanders.
Sanders’s family consists of her parents, Carl and Kari Sanders and brothers Kyle, 16, and Ray, 13.
“While working on the farm and ranch, the best memories come from working alongside my brothers,” she said. Her dad is her mentor and “inspires me as he has taught me what I know about farming and ranching.”
Balancing her private life, farm and ranch obligations, and education responsibilities consists of prioritizing.
“Growing up on the farm and ranch has taught me that work always comes first,” she said. “During the school year, I must do homework and other tasks when I have time in the house and not put them off.”
She joined 4-H when she was 8 and has been an active member in showing livestock and attending club meetings and events. While in high school, she was a member of the Student Council, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization. She also played volleyball and basketball.
“The extracurricular involvement has taught me the importance of community service and involvement,” she said.
Because of Sanders’ strong passion for agriculture, she joined FFA her eighth-grade year.
“FFA opened many doors for me including leadership roles, career choice influence, travel opportunities and the chance to make new friends and build networks,” she said. She is currently serving as the South Dakota State FFA vice president.
“Other students should have those same opportunities as I did which is why I am inspired to become an Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor,” she said. “In these roles (educator and advisor) I will be able to share my passion [for] and knowledge of agriculture.”  
When asked what her most significant strength is, she noted her ability to always be prepared and well organized. Sanders also identified several other qualities necessary for her success.
Other qualities are determination, the ability to prioritize, problem-solving skills and being a hard worker. An area she strives to improve is “delegating tasks to others.”
Some of her hobbies and interests include gardening, baking, scrapbooking and being surrounded by friends and family. Besides her active participation in the Fall River County 4-H, she is involved with the Prairie View United Methodist Church Youth Group. In addition, she served as an SD Jr. Beef Ambassador and a Legislative Page during her senior year.
“Something on my bucket list is to travel to Maine and other states to see their agricultural commodities,” she said.
FFA’s mission is “to makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through Agricultural Education.”
—Submitted by M. Claire May


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