Minnesota, U.S.A. — The Land O’Lakes Foundation awarded the 2012 John Brandt Memorial Foundation Scholarships to a graduate student studying what information affects consumers’ dairy purchases and a graduate student studying nutrition in ruminant animals.

Molly Paterson of Johnston, IA, who is attending Iowa State University and Sam Fessenden of King Ferry, NY, who is attending the University of Minnesota received the scholarships for the 2012-2013 school year.

The John Brandt Memorial Foundation scholarship program supports graduate students pursuing work in dairy animal, food science or agribusiness at one of four eligible institutions: Iowa State University, South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The scholarships are awarded in memory of John Brandt, an industry organizer who formed and remained president of Land O’Lakes until his death in 1953. The Land O’Lakes Foundation awards one or two scholarships each year to students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and aptitude toward their field of study.

Paterson earned her bachelor’s degree in dairy manufacturing with a minor in food safety from South Dakota State University. Her research focuses on consumer perceptions, preferences and behaviors with fluid milk and will examine consumers’ perceptions and preferences regarding how milk is processed and how it tastes. The information, she said, will provide information about what affects consumers’ milk purchases.

“People have so many alternatives to dairy. I want to show consumers the advantages of drinking milks and choosing other dairy products for themselves and their families,” Paterson said. “I want to impact the consumer’s mindset about the dairy industry. I want to help bridge a gap between consumers’ preferences, purchasing habits and the information they know about the options available to them and also provide this critical information to dairy processors and industry professionals.”

Fessenden received his Bachelor’s with Honors Distinction in Research in Animal Science from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. His research focuses on the use of hops acids€”the compounds responsible for providing flavor and aroma to brewed products€” in animal feeds.

“My goal is to understand how ruminant animals adapt to the addition of hop acids,” he said. “Ultimately we would like to understand if milk production efficiency can be increased with the use of hop acids. This could provide an alternative to synthetic antibiotics and enhance consumer perception of dairy production.

“I grew up on a dairy farm. After dinner, my father would ask if I wanted to go with him to check on the cows. In the middle of the barns was a tractor seat mounted on one of the gates,” he said. “My father and I would watch the cows and talk. This is where I began to learn about cattle, what they ate and how to care for them.”

Those interested in applying for the 2013-2014 school year can find more information and download an application form at www.landolakesinc.com/company/corporateresponsibility/foundation. Applications for the 2013-2014 school year will be accepted after March 1, 2013.