National Cattlemen's Foundation Announces W.D. Farr Scholarship Recipients 

August 9, 2021

Emily Melchior, New Mexico State University, and Luke Fuerniss, Texas Tech University, have each been awarded a $15,000 W.D. Farr Scholarship by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF). The annual W.D. Farr Scholarship program was established by NCF in 2007 to recognize outstanding graduate students who plan to pursue careers in meat science and animal agriculture. Melchior and Fuerniss were selected from 24 applicants based on their academic achievements, leadership and commitment to advancement of the beef industry.

Melchior is pursuing a doctorate, studying ruminant nutrition and microbiology with an emphasis on range cattle. She earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga., and a master’s degree in animal science from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture in Knoxville, Tenn. Her experience as an intern with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension led to her interest in conducting applied research addressing the challenges faced by cattle producers. Melchior’s dissertation research focuses on vaccination strategies to improve herd health programs, efficiency and profitability of beef cattle. 

Melchior is passionate about using science and technology to improve the livelihood and wellbeing of cattle and producers as they undertake the task of feeding the world. The scholarship will help her complete her education by funding research and travel to cattle industry meetings and scientific conferences to present data. Her ultimate goal is to become a scientist in academia or industry, leading a laboratory where students can be competitive in both applied and basic animal science techniques of nutrition, microbiology and immunology.

Fuerniss earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., and is now pursuing his doctorate. Through research with major beef processing plants and feedlots he is learning about the challenges and complexities of cattle and beef markets. From corporate feeders and managers, as well as consulting nutritionists, Fuerniss seeks to better understand the management needed to promote cattle efficiency, handle commodity risk, strengthen relationships with packers and build effective teams.

Fuerniss hopes to expand his professional skills and knowledge of the beef industry to better contribute as a future leader and problem solver. Funds from this scholarship will support his continued education by enabling him to travel to beef industry meetings and pursue certifications in ultrasound and embryo transfer. His long-term career goal is to build feeder cattle procurement programs that maximize resource use efficiency and promote consistent growth and carcass composition.

The scholarship honors the successful career of the late W.D. Farr. Farr, a third-generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and banker was known for his extraordinary vision. His dedication to improving agriculture, livestock and water development resulted in significant changes in farming methods that have influenced the practices of ranchers and farmers throughout the nation. Farr was the first president of the NCF and served as president of the American National Cattlemen’s Association, which would later become the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Farr died at age 97 in August 2007.

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of scholarships. Graduate students planning to pursue a career in the beef industry must apply online by submitting a cover letter, curriculum vitae, description of applicant’s goals and experience, statement of belief in the industry, as well as a review of the applicant’s graduate research and three letters of recommendation by Sept. 10, 2021. The 2021 scholarships will be presented at the 2022 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Houston, Texas, Feb. 1-3, 2022. 

The NCF advances the future of the beef industry by assisting in the education of the next generation of beef industry professionals. For more information about NCF and the W.D. Farr Scholarship, visit

Source: National Cattlemen's Foundation