Litton Leadership Scholars

The Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation was created in 1976 after the tragic passing of Jerry, his wife, and their two children. Over the years the Foundation has supported the development of future leaders in the agricultural industry and beyond. The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri is honored to continue the Foundation’s mission through the Litton Leadership Scholars Program.

Each year, deserving students are selected to become part of a year-long leadership development experience that will challenge them to not only lead while on campus but in their future career fields. Students chosen will be met with a tremendous opportunity for growth and a responsibility to be productive citizens in the future.

About the Litton Leadership Scholars Program

The Litton Leadership Scholars Program focuses on developing the whole student to successfully navigate today’s challenges and tomorrow’s uncertainty.

This is accomplished through:

  • Leadership Education Coursework
  • Academic and Field Based Mentorship
  • Impactful Change

It is an honor to be a Litton Leadership Scholar and with the honor comes an expectation of high achievement.

Each cohort of Litton Leadership Scholars (LLS) will engage in a uniquely designed seminar course that capitalizes on the best that leadership education has to offer. Scholars will interact with leadership, agriculture, and community experts. The academic and relational nature of the experience guides the Scholars to become impactful change agents in the University of Missouri community and beyond.

In order to be considered for the Litton Leadership Scholars program a student must:

  • Be a current College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources student;
  • Complete the application and interview selection process;
  • Be a second year student at the University of Missouri at the time of entering the LLS cohort;
  • Hold a 3.0 minimum G.P.A. when entering the cohort.

Each new cohort is selected in the spring for the following year.

How to Apply

  • Applications and interviews will take place in the spring of 2025. Please check back.

Congratulations to the 2024-2025 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort!

Griff Bonderer – Agribusiness Management – Chillicothe, MO

Karson Calvin – Agricultural Education – Troy, MO

Ava Fleury – Biochemistry – Jefferson City, MO

Bethany Foltz – Animal Science – Sedgewickville, MO

Isabella Foltz – Animal Science – Sedgewickville, MO

Noah Graham – Agricultural Systems Technology – Patterson, MO

Miriam Hernandez – Biochemistry & Romance Languages – Roselle, IL

Ava Kemper – Plant Science – Hawk Point, MO

Charles Lewis – Environmental Science – Ashland, MO

Kiley Mattson – Agricultural Education – Stanberry, MO

Ryan Noble – Agricultural Systems Technology – Portageville, MO

Katy Parcell – Agribusiness Management – Columbia, MO

Gabrielle Rohrbach – Agribusiness Management – California, MO

Sonya Schwer – Animal Science – St. Louis, MO

Abby Shaffer – Agricultural Communications and Leadership – Moscow Mills, MO

Meg Shively – Agricultural Communications and Leadership – Shelbyville, MO

Caleb Simpson – Agribusiness Management – Bolivar, MO

Maggie Stark – Animal Science – Drexel, MO

Emma Steele – Agricultural Communications and Leadership – Novinger, MO

Makenna Stundebeck – Agriculture – Salisbury, MO

Sam Tummons – Agricultural Education – Rocheport, MO

Claire Walker – Agribusiness Management – Chillicothe, MO

Drew Welch – Agribusiness Management – Sheridan, MO

Avery Wiegand – Agribusiness Management – Cairo, MO

Jerry Lon Litton was born in a small, one room farmhouse near Lock Springs, Missouri on May 12, 1937. Litton completed his high school education at Chillicothe High School, where he was president of both the National Honor Society and of the Chillicothe Chapter of Future Farmers of America. After serving as the Missouri state FFA president, Litton was elected as the FFA’s national secretary in 1956-57.

Upon completing high school, Litton enrolled in college at the University of Missouri. His passion for agriculture and agricultural education led him to the College of Agriculture. While at the university, Litton worked as a newscaster at a Columbia radio station and as a newspaper reporter and farm editor. During his sophomore year he was elected vice-president of the student body and was also named to the Mystical Seven for scholastic achievement and leadership.

Litton graduated from the College of Agriculture in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and a minor in economics. Upon graduation, Litton returned to Chillicothe where he forged a farming partnership with his father, Charley. The Litton Charolais Ranch was formed and quickly became a success. The Litton Charolais Ranch became world-renowned for their genetics and breeding techniques. The Littons sold their Charolais cattle around the world and established a fine reputation as cattle breeders.

In 1972, Litton was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he advocated the rights of farmers and hardworking citizens. Often referred to as a “breath of fresh air in Washington,” Litton impressed his colleagues with his honesty and his political incorruptibility. While in Congress he served on the House Committee on Agriculture and was chair of the forestry subcommittee.

In 1976, Litton decided to seek the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Stuart Symington. He handily defeated the incumbent’s son, James Symington, and former governor Warren Hearnes in the Democratic primary on Aug. 3, 1976. That same evening, Litton, his wife, Sharon, and their two children, Linda and Scott, along with their pilot and the pilot’s son, died in a plane crash just after takeoff from Chillicothe Airport en route to a victory celebration in Kansas City.

Jerry Litton’s legacy lives on through the establishment of the Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation. The Foundation’s mission helped in establishing the Jerry Litton Fund for Agricultural Leadership at CAFNR, from which the Litton Leadership Scholars program is funded. The Foundation continues to promote the leadership, integrity and perseverance that Litton was revered for.

The 2023-2024 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

Front Row (L to R): Abby Loesing, Agricultural Communications, Labadie, MO; Jadyn Lower, Animal Sciences, Humansville, MO; Alivia Beanland, Agricultural Education, Eldon, MO; Tess Hutter, Agribusiness Management, Springfield, MO; Emma Knudson, Environmental Sciences, Morris, IL; Haley Hunsel, Plant Sciences, Moscow Mills, MO; Jenna Naumann, Animal Sciences, Newbury Park, CA; Izabella Freymuth, Agricultural Education, Bellflower, MO; Morgan Watkins, Agricultural Education, Buckner, MO; and Jodi Robinson, Agribusiness Management, Richmond, MO

Back Row (L to R): Harleigh Lewis, Agricultural Education, Brunswick, MO; Kinzey Johnston, Agribusiness Management, Indianola, IA; Katherine Rogers, Agricultural Communications, Bethany, MO; Annie Robinson, Agribusiness Management, Wellsville, MO; Drexel Douglass, Environmental Sciences, Bloomington, IL; Ennis Childs, Agricultural Education & Plant Sciences, Vandalia, MO; Toni Haselhorst, Agricultural Education, Jefferson City, MO; Sarah Riggins, Agricultural Education, Macomb, IL; Sierra Rusco, Agriculture, Salem, MO; Annamarie Stone, Agricultural Education, Centralia, MO; and Abbey Hayen, Agribusiness Management, Chillicothe, MO

The 2022-2023 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

2022 Litton Cohort

Front Row (L to R): Kraysen Leonard, Agricultural Education and Leadership, El Dorado Springs, MO; Quincy Wiegand, Agribusiness Management, Cairo, MO; Dawn Sherman, Agribusiness Management, Warrenton, MO; Lexi Bremer, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Columbia, MO; Caitlyn Kleffner, Animal Science, Rolla, MO; Madison Holmes, Plant Science, Columbia, MO; Emily Hoyt, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Martinsburg, MO; Sydney Stundebeck, Agribusiness Management, Salisbury, MO; and Korrin Zerr, Agriculture, Montgomery City, MO

Middle Row (L to R): Evan Miller, Agribusiness Management, Pleasant Hill, MO; Grant Norfleet, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Mexico, MO; Hannah Shanks, Agribusiness Management, Vienna, MO; Madi Ridder, Animal Science, Marthasville, MO; Kelsey Duke, Agribusiness Management, Ursa, IL; and Bryce Himmelberg, Plant Science, Glasgow, MO

Back Row (L to R): Konnor Calvin, Agribusiness Management, Troy, MO; Justin Eddy, Agribusiness Management, Rocheport, MO; and Anthony King, Biochemistry and German, St. Charles, MO

(Not Pictured) Ryan Chapski, Animal Science, Glen Ellyn, IL

The 2021 – 2022 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

221 Litton Cohort

Front Row (L to R): Zane Nichols, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Ashland; Hailey Douglass, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Shelbina; Lauren Gilbert, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Oldfield; Ashley Queathem, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Montgomery City; Trinity Crouch, Agribusiness Management, Olean; Sally Schmidt, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Carrollton; Olivia Brune, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Eolia; Carly Collins, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Lentner; Madison Moll, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Perryville; and Kaylee Lower, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Collins

Back Row (L to R): Lucy Schnitker, Agribusiness Management, Middletown; Blake Wright, Agribusiness Management, Verona; Matthew Vaughn, Agribusiness Management, Sturgeon; Anderson Rogers, Agribusiness Management, Bethany; Isaiah Massey, Agriculture & Black Studies, Troy; Lauryn Robnett, Agribusiness Management, Laddonia; Erin Heinecke, Biochemistry, Paris; Hailey Schepers, Agribusiness Management, California; and Heath Brandt, Agricultural Education and Leadership, New Bloomfield

The 2020 – 2021 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

2020 Litton cohort

Front Row (L to R): Rachael Love, Agricultural Education & Leadership and Plant Sciences, Truxton; Emilia Zacherl, Agribusiness Management, Columbia; Hannah Anderson, Agribusiness Management, Cole Camp, Mary Watt, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Green City; Sydney Baxter, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Chillicothe; and Jessica Janorschke, Agribusiness Management, St. Joseph

Middle Row (L to R): Caitlyn Twellman, Agribusiness Management, Silex; Jacob Knaebel, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Westphalia; Elizabeth Brooks, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Ashland; Natalie Koch, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Belle; Heather Snow, Animal Sciences, Columbia; Kensie Darst, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Aurora; and Alexandra Gast, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Nevada

Back Row (L to R): Kate Thompson, Agribusiness Management and Agricultural Education & Leadership, Columbia; Caroline Green, Animal Sciences, Troy; Kaylee Lewis, Biochemistry, Chillicothe; Drew Kientzy, Agribusiness Management, Silex; Evan Davidson, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Hartsburg; Brody Brown, Animal Sciences, Rolla; Kirby Latimer, Animal Sciences, Hunnewell; Brenden Kleiboeker, Plant Sciences, Stotts City; Adam Slayton, Agriculture, Memphis; Maggie Pfaff, Animal Sciences, Chillicothe; and Megan Edwards, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Salisbury

2020-2021 Scholars Reflection

2020-2021 Cohort Introductions and Thoughts

The 2019 – 2020 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

2019 Litton Cohort

Front Row (L to R): Claire Shipp, Agribusiness Management, Chillicothe; Madison Bader, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Hermann; Dillon Reinitz, Agribusiness Management, Brunswick; Madelyn Derks, Agribusiness Management, King City; Isaiah Boon, Agribusiness Management, Chula; Regan Ragsdale, Agribusiness Management, Holliday; Audrey Martin, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Bucklin; Allie Lock, Agribusiness Management, Carrollton; Hattie Grisham, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Eldon; Faith Zimmermann, Plant Science, Elsberry; and Lauren Quinlan, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Mexico.

Back Row (L to R): Hannah Persell, Agribusiness Management, Trenton; Chloe Momphard, Animal Science, Troy; Quentin Carlyle, Agricultural Education & Leadership, East Prairie; Larna Schnitker, Agribusiness Management, Middletown; Liberty Cox, Animal Science, Chillicothe; Hannah Strain, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Rolla; Ryan Siegel, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Otterville; Sage Eichenburch, Agriculture, Prairie Home; Donell Kleiboeker, Agribusiness Management, Pierce City; Dallas Kleiboeker, Agribusiness Management, Pierce City; Tyler Miller, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Belle; Paxton Dahmer, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Nevada; and Adriene Aubuchon, Agriculture, Owensville.

2019-2020 Scholars Reflect on the Past Year

The 2018 – 2019 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

2018 Litton Cohort

Front Row (L to R): Jacob Blank, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Richland; Jillian Klein, Agriculture, Wildwood; Quinn Dubinski, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Columbia; Katelyn Elder, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Urbana; Allison Abadir, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Columbia; Emily Blaue Agricultural Education and Leadership, Wellsville; Abigail Bertz, Agribusiness Management, Mayview.

Middle Row: Sydnee Mason, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Marshall; Adam Fisher, Environmental Science and Philosophy, Wentzville; Garren Powell, Biochemistry, Hughesville; Samuel Stoll, Mechanical Engineering, Festus; Seth Gibson, Parks, Recreation and Sport, Norborne; Dillon Linneman, Agribusiness Management, Carrollton.

Back Row: Zachary Trout, Agricultural Systems Management, Chillicothe; Aaron Mott, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Rocheport; Dylan Boling, Agribusiness Management, Clarence; Ben Luebbering, Agribusiness Management, St. Thomas; Justin Belew, Agriculture, Hartsburg; Abby Turner, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Brookfield; Emma Leamer, Agribusiness Management, Chillicothe.

The 2017 – 2018 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

2017 Litton Cohort

Front Row (L to R): Sara Gholson, Animal Science, Jackson; Natalie Ayers, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Green City; Lily Grant, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Columbia; Jacqueline Janorschke, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Saint Joseph; Bryce Fifer, Agribusiness Management, Shelbina; Baileigh Horstmeier, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Fulton; Blayre Messner, Agribusiness Management, Albany; Holly Harlan, Biochemistry, Salisbury; Clarke Blodgett, Agribusiness Management, Macon; Derrek Hardy, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Browning; and Emily Milazzo, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Galt.

Back Row (L to R): Lane Bonderer, Agribusiness Management, Chillicothe; Chad Adler, Political Science & German Language, Lake Saint Louis; Caleb Quinlan, Plant Science, Mexico; Stuart Allen, Biochemistry, Lebanon; D. Cole Diggins, Environmental Science, Bronaugh; Ben Schnelle, Agribusiness Management, Lockwood; J. Clayton Robinson, Agribusiness Management, Center; Jacob Bockting, Agricultural Economics, Hermann; Colton Spencer, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Aurora; Logan Korff, Agricultural Systems Management, Norborne; and Holly Enowski, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Eldon.

The 2016 – 2017 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

2016 Litton Cohort

Front Row (L to R): Lauren Haley, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Chillicothe; Sylvia Romine, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Centralia; Alexa Nordwald, Science & Agricultural Journalism, East Prairie; Skylar Townsend, Agricultural Economics and Accounting; Hannah Boatright, Plant Science, Sedalia; Madison Byrd, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Keytesville; Lacy Fitzpatrick, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Eldon; Brandelyn Martin, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Silex; Katie Gowdy, Biochemistry, Ashland; and Carlee Johnson, Agribusiness Management, Laredo.

Back Row (L to R): Matt Oerly, Animal Science, California; Kelsey Batson, Animal Science, Princeton; Andy Mott, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Columbia; Robert Schmidt, Biochemistry, Columbia; Adam Kirby, Agribusiness Management, Trenton; Dane Brammer, Agricultural Economics and Plant Science, Gallatin; Brett Mason, Agricultural Systems Management and Agribusiness Management, Paris; Abigail Hoer, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Mexico; Maria Kuhns, Agribusiness Management, Mason, IL; and Alex Stichnote, Agribusiness Management, Ashland.

The 2015 – 2016 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

Litton Cohort 2015

Front Row (L to R): Victoria Lock, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Carrollton; Yia Yang, Plant Science, Wheaton; Samantha Marre, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Elsberry; Libby Martin, Animal Science, California; Savannah Taylor, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Milan; Jennifer Zulovich, Biochemistry, Columbia; and Cavin Joesting, Agriculture, Tarkio.

Middle Row (L to R): Kaitlin Epperson, Animal Science, Columbia; Katelyn Stoops, Agribusiness Management, Summersville; Rachael Bonacker, Animal Science Pre-Vet, Cedar Hill; Katy Stoecklein, Animal Science, Macon; Jaime Luke, Agricultural Economics, Stanberry; Maddie Grant, Animal Science, Columbia; Mason Sandidge, Agriculture, Marshall; Rebecca Helton, Hospitality Management, Macon; and Taylor Strain, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Rolla.

Back Row (L to R): Ethan Fordyce, Agricultural Systems Management, Bethany; Jack McCleave, Agricultural Economics, Harrisonville; Matt Schroer, Agribusiness Management, Troy; Cole Edwards, Agribusiness Management, Salisbury; Michael Carpenter, Agricultural Systems Management, Hardin; Carley Esser, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Boonville; and Clara Knipp, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Tipton.

2014–2015 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

Litton Cohort 2014

Front Row (L to R): Abrea Mizer, Biochemistry and Agricultural Education & Leadership, Marshall; Tanner Adkins, Plant Science, Elmo; Kendra Stinson, Animal Science and Agribusiness Management, Prairie Home; Maria Raquel Juarez, Animal Science, Blue Springs; Miriam Martin, Animal Science, Meadville; Haley Alden, Agribusiness Management, Hamilton; and Samantha Coulson, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Green City.

Back Row (L to R): Alexandria Berghaus, Plant Science, Farmington; Grant Voelker, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Perryville; Tessa Chambers, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Fayette; Phillip Cooley, Agribusiness Management, St. Charles; Nicholas Pirotte, Agribusiness Management, Prairie Village, KS; Sam McDonald, Plant Science, Silex; Maria Kalaitzandonakes, Agricultural Economics and Science & Agricultural Journalism, Columbia; Sayde Heckman, Plant Science and Agricultural Education & Leadership, Ashland; and Caitlin Stanek, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Troy.

2013–2014 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

Litton Cohort 2013

Front Row (L to R): Payton Ehrhardt, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Marshall; Morgan Beach, Agricultural Economics, Pilot Grove; Brittany Elliott, Animal Science Pre-Vet, Fayette; Heyley Heupel, Agribusiness Management, Granby; Courtney Spencer, Animal Science, Aurora; and Emily Brookshire, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Jefferson City.

Middle Row (L to R): Haley Thompson, Agribusiness Management, Ludlow; Jaelyn Bergmann, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Paris; Taylor Fredrick, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Columbia; Sonja Perry, Animal Science, Bowling Green; Samantha Browning, Biochemistry, Hallsville; and Amanda Smith, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Rolla.

Back Row (L to R): Kirby Fecht, Agricultural Economics, Carthage, IL; Corey Hudson, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Middletown; Dustin Oehl, Agricultural Education & Leadership and Agribusiness Management, Friedheim; Eric Renne, Biochemistry, Wentzville; William Inglish, Agribusiness Management, California; and Sidney Schenkel, Agribusiness Management, Maryville.

2012–2013 Litton Leadership Scholars Cohort

Litton Cohort 2012

Front Row (L to R): Kelsie Lovelace, Animal Science, Palmyra; Maggie Hardwick, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Salisbury; Natoshia Minor, Agribusiness Management, Butler; Kaitlin Flick, Plant Science, Pleasant Hill.

Middle Row (L to R): Kent Shikles, Agricultural Education & Leadership; Breanne Brammer, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Gallatin; Jenny Gann, Agribusiness Management, St. Joseph; Courtney Leeper, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Trenton; Clarissa Brown, Agricultural Education and Leadership, Troy; Shannon Yokley, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Jefferson City.

Back Row (L to R): Monica Campen, Agricultural Education & Leadership, Canton; Cody Jones, Agribusiness Management, Fulton; Daniel Bonacker, Agricultural Systems Management, Cedar Hill; Kevin Reininger, Biochemistry, Flint Hill; Aubrey Ellison, Science & Agricultural Journalism, Mt. Vernon.