The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is excited to announce five, $1,000.00 scholarship recipients for 2016. Learn more about each of these amazing young individuals who are working for the betterment of agriculture and ranching not only in Oregon but across the country and the world.


Garret Robinson (Heppner, Oregon | Oregon State University)

OCA Scholarship Recipient 2016View More:

As a fifth generation member of a ranching family, I have a responsibility to advocate for the future of agriculture. Growing up on a ranch I have been raised around people that work in the agricultural community and I have found a strong sense of respect for not only these people, but also the industry in general. Agriculture is more than just a career path to me, it’s a way of life. From a very young age, I have always wanted to be a part of this great industry that provides food and fiber for the world. It is also a surprise to me the lack of support for what is the most important industry in the world and I want to be a part of bringing awareness to agriculture. Paul Harvey summed up exactly how I feel about agriculture and how I have always felt about agriculture in the last paragraph of his famous ‘So God Made a Farmer’ speech when he said, “Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and the reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’ So God made a farmer.”

My academic goal is to earn my Bachelor of Sciences degree at Oregon State University. I plan to combine my career through my BS in Agriculture Sciences working for the Forest Service in the range department along with maintaining my own cattle herd.

My future career goal will be based around my passion for agriculture. I am excited to broaden my knowledge of the agriculture industry. In working for the Forest Service I hope to advocate for ranchers and educate the public on grazing/cattle. I will make it my goal to work with ranchers so they can maximize production of the land while also making range improvement to conserve our rangelands for future generations of ranchers. More specifically improving riparian areas to protect our water sources in this time of drought. Making more efficient and productive water developments will be key for our future. I also want to spread the knowledge of how moderate and properly managed rangelands not only just benefits ranchers but the environment as well. I look forward to learning more about land stewardships, production management (specifically rangeland management) and financing so that I may successfully continue my family legacy.


Erika Bentz (Burns, Oregon | Colorado State University)

OCA Scholarship Recipient 2016Erika Bentz Headshot

Having grown up in a multi-generational ranching family, I desire to ultimately have a
career that helps protect and promote agriculture. I plan to work in agricultural communications and policy formation – such as with an association – directly out of college. I then want to create my own communications company to work with agricultural businesses and organizations, specializing in marketing and public and governmental relations. I ultimately want to always stay involved in the political process as well, to help create good policies that effectively balance natural resource management and agricultural needs.

By majoring in agricultural business and journalism at CSU, my goal is to build a strong knowledge of the agricultural industry as a whole and how to communicate effectively. Through internships and extracurricular activities such as student government, I want to gain more than just classroom experience. In my last year, I want to take full advantage of what is offered by staying involved in clubs, student government, and doing an internship with Colorado Cattleman’s Agricultural Land Trust.

Having the opportunity to grow up on a ranch in a rural communicate and seeing the benefits of that lifestyle, I want to help continue that way of life. I want to do everything I can now to position myself to do that to the best of my ability.


Laurel Caldwell (Central Point, Oregon | Oregon State University Honors College)

OCA Scholarship Recipient 2016 Laurel Caldwell Headshot

My future goal is to pursue a career in equine veterinary medicine. From my earliest memories I have been working in the cattle corrals, handing syringes to my father, until gradually I started to administer all the vaccinations, performed innumerable castrations, pulled calves and assisted with other medical necessities. My family saw my passion for medicine and gave me the responsibility of ordering, organizing and prepping all the medications necessary for both the cattle and horse operations. Decades of my family’s thoroughbred breeding has also produced many successful horses selling from the West Coast to back East at the Keeneland Horse Sales. I have ridden quarter horses my entire life and breed my own cow horses. All of this exposure has left me with a knowledge for and love of anything equine, particularly the thoroughbred race horse! To effectively witness equine medical practice in its purest form, I have traveled to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky for two externships. While there I directly assisted field vets, observed multiple surgeries and critical cases in the Medical Center and ICU. It was a wonderful experience that solidified my desire to seek a career in veterinary medicine.

Another aspiration of mine is to attend OSU College of Veterinary Medicine for graduate school. Ultimately, upon graduation from vet school, I look forward to applying for the very competitive year-long internship at Hagyard Medical Institute. For the first part of my veterinary career, if not longer, I would like to work in Lexington on the many thoroughbred and Standardbred horse farms.


Christabelle Simon (Woodburn, Oregon | Oregon State University)

OCA Scholarship Recipient 2016Christabelle Simon Headshot

I plan to graduate from Oregon State University in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Business Management with a minor in Animal Sciences. I plan to go into credit loan at a company such as Northwest Farm Credit Services. I also plan to continue the proud Dement Family tradition of raising quality beef cattle in Oregon.

I was inspired to become a leader in agriculture by my great-grandfather, Sam Dement, and my grandparents, Gary & Diane Simon. These three individuals have provided me with an awe-inspiring example and legacy of leadership and activity in the beef industry, as well as countless opportunities growing up in 4H, FFA, and my journey at Oregon State.

I am inspired to be a leader by leaders.



Terrel Platt (Pilot Rock, Oregon | Colorado State University)

OCA Scholarship Recipient 2016Terrel Platt Headshot

I am currently double majoring in Animal Science and AgriBusiness at Colorado State University. After I receive a Bachelor’s degree, I want to obtain a Master’s degree in Bovine Reproduction. After grad school I plan to return home to Oregon and work for an Artificial Insemination Company while also managing my family’s cattle ranch. Being raised on a cattle ranch, I have grown to love agricultural life. I appreciate the values and lessons it teaches, and I cannot imagine my life without it. I want to continue to be involved in cattle production for the rest of my life.