Skip To Main Content

Five Hamilton Excellence in Ag Scholarships awarded

    Truman Chamness Marina Lindsay Conner Rieks Bart Spiehs Bryce VanLangen
Truman Chamness Marina Lindsay Conner Rieks Bart Spiehs Bryce VanLangen

Five high school seniors have been selected to receive Bob & Arlene Hamilton Agriculture Scholarships to attend Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls for the 2015-16 academic year. The scholarships, worth $5,000 each, are awarded to qualifying students entering one of ECC’s agriculture-related degree programs.

The FY16 Hamilton Scholarship recipients are Truman Chamness of Blairsburg, Marina Lindsay of Iowa Falls, Conner Rieks of Alden, Bartholomew Spiehs of Hubbard, and Bryce VanLangen of Blairsburg.

Considerations for the scholarships include intent to major in an agriculture-related program, having a good academic record, and demonstrating community involvement and leadership abilities. The Bob & Arlene Hamilton Agriculture scholarships are designed for students entering ECC’s Agribusiness, Agriculture transfer, Animal Science, Farm Management, Geographical Information Systems/GIS, Precision Agriculture, Renewable Energy Technology or Swine Management programs. These awards were made possible through an endowed scholarship given by Bob and Arlene Hamilton to the Ellsworth College Foundation.

Truman Chamness, a 2015 graduate of Northeast Hamilton High School, is the son of Gary and Nicole Chamness. Truman plans to major in Ag Transfer at ECC. He has worked since 2006 as a herd manager for Chamness Cattle Co. of Blairsburg, and he worked last spring in heifer development for Sebert Cattle of Clarion; he also does seasonal labor for Chamness Technology and Halbach Cattle. Active in school and community activities, Truman played baseball, football and basketball and ran track at Northeast Hamilton and was a member of Student Council for four years. He has a long list of 4-H/FFA involvements including exhibiting beef at the Iowa State Fair, serving four years as a 4-H County Council member, and attending the State 4-H Conference and State FFA Convention for four years. He also has many church and community service projects to his credit. After college he plans to work for a large-scale cow/calf production business.

Marina Lindsay, a 2015 graduate of Iowa Falls-Alden High School, is the daughter of Jess and Jean Lindsay. In addition to the Hamilton Ag Scholarship, she is receiving the Earl & Arlene Kessell Music Scholarship to attend ECC. While in high school, Marina was a four-year member of the band (qualifying for Honor Band), FFA, and Girls Group. In the community, she’s involved in Mission 50126, her church youth group, the Ruth Project Food Pantry, and has made appearances as Olaf the snowman from the Disney movie “Frozen.” She volunteers at Windy Acres Haflinger Farm working with foals and yearlings, and has worked the past two summers at a nursing home. She plans to major in Agriculture Science at ECC, as well as pursuing her interest in the Equine field. After ECC she plans to transfer and complete a bachelor’s degree.

Conner Rieks, a 2015 graduate of Iowa Falls-Alden High School, is the son of Chris and Carolyn Rieks. In addition to the Hamilton Ag Scholarship, he’s receiving a Legacy Scholarship because his father is an ECC alumni. Conner played football and basketball in high school, and was a participant in concert band his freshman year. He is a member of Franklin County 4-H, serving for two years on the County Youth Council and two years as club president. He’s also a six-year FFA member, helping with county fair events and grandstand events. He works on the family farm, which includes a swine operation, and for Meyer Truck & Alignment, as well as operating his own lawn service business. Conner plans to major in Farm Management and Animal Science; after college he plans to work on the family farm.

Bartholomew Spiehs, a 2015 graduate of South Hardin High School, is the son of Doug and Carole Spiehs. Bart has worked on his grandfather’s and uncle’s dairy farm (which also includes calves and hogs) since he was about nine, and he helps raise the family alpacas. He began a joint egg business with his mother in 2012 and they sell eggs to area grocery stores, restaurants and a care center, as well as individual clients. Bart is a four-year member of the South Hardin FFA chapter and just earned his Iowa degree; he also attended Boys State and was a Student of the Month. He’s active with his church and helps with local service projects. At ECC, Bart plans to major in Agribusiness, and after graduation he plans to farm and eventually build a large chicken building to expand his flock.

Bryce VanLangen, a 2015 graduate of Northeast Hamilton High School, is the son of Brian and Jennifer VanLangen. His background includes raising livestock, doing summer farm work, and working on his family’s aronia berry farm; his interests include horticulture, agribusiness and marketing. During high school, Bryce was involved in multiple sports (football, wrestling, track and baseball), quiz bowl, Student Council, FFA and church activities. He received the Webster City Rotary Leadership Award and enjoys several volunteer activities. He plans to major in Ag Transfer at ECC, then complete his studies in agribusiness and horticulture at Iowa State. After college, Bryce plans to continue working on the family’s aronia farm, eventually expanding the business.

Ellsworth Community College Agriculture students take most of their coursework in the Ag & Renewable Energy Center, located just south of Iowa Falls and adjacent to the Ellsworth Equestrian Center. The 17,753 square foot Ag facility has classrooms, a conference room, business incubator labs, and a biotechnology lab. ECC’s newest agriculture program is Mobile Service Technician, which will train students to service and repair all kinds of ag equipment either at the farm or in the field.

For more information about Ellsworth Community College, contact the ECC Admissions office at 1-800-322-9235 or 641-648-8524. Additional information can be found on the college website at

Related Articles