Jim Rutherford Conservation Scholarship

Jim Rutherford Conservation Scholarship

The Jim Rutherford Scholarship has been established by the McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District to assist outstanding agricultural students at any Illinois College. The student awarded the scholarship should demonstrate superior agricultural academic achievement, commitment to soil and water conservation and potential for innovation and/or leadership ability. The Jim Rutherford Scholarship is awarded in the fall semester of the academic year.

2017 Jim Rutherford Scholarship Application

2016 Scholarship Winners

garrett conaty

Garrett Conaty, son of Dawn Conaty, is a LeRoy native attending Heartland Community College this fall for the agriculture course and ultimately transferring to Illinois State University to major in Agribusiness. Garrett plans to go back to the family farm after graduating from ISU and start a career as a salesman.  While attending LeRoy High School, Garret was active in FFA, Wrestling, and Football. He is also active in 4-H and has served as Historian, Secretary, Vice-President, and President.   Garrett is the ninth generation to be active on the family farm where they produce corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa and other hay, raise beef cattle and Katahdin sheep.


blake edwards

Blake Edwards, son of Kevin and Karen Edwards, is a Lexington native attending Joliet Junior College in the fall for Ag Supply Business. Blake hopes to acquire an internship during his sophomore year at a seed and chemical dealer or grain handling facility and obtain a position with that company following his internship.  During his years at Lexington High School, Blake was involved in FFA, F.L.O.A.T.S (freshman mentoring program), baseball, football, and community garden.


2015 Scholarship Winners


Nickolas Parkhouse, son of Kevin and Dee Parkhouse, is a Gridley native attending Illinois State University this fall for Agribusiness. Nick’s goal for college is to graduate in four years and has interest in not only Agribuisness, but the science aspects of agronomy as well.  While attending El Paso-Gridley High School, Nick was active in many extracurricular activities, including FFA, Mu Alpha Theta, Show Choir, Choir, Youth in Harmony, Golf, Basketball, and Baseball.  Nick was also active in the Trinity Lutheran Youth Group and worked at the El Paso Golf Club.  He enjoys hunting, fishing, and golf in his free time.



William Patton, son of Mike and Niki Patton, is a Lexington native attending Illinois Central College this fall for Ag Production. Will is excited to gain more knowledge of grain and livestock farming.  He plans to take his knowledge back to the family farm to boost efficiency and productivity.  Will has been an active 4-H member of the Lexington Leprechauns for 10 years, where he has held various positions and participated in many activities.  While attending school in Lexington, Will held multiple positions in FFA and played many sports, including Football and Track.  Will is currently doing ground maintenance at the Brandt Research Plot in Lexington and has learned much about the Nitrogen run-off study being conducted there.