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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences



Grant Debruin Grant m. Debruin

Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
Sustainable Plant Systems - Agroecology 
Greenfield, OH

2024 Distinguished Senior Award Recognition Reception Program (.pdf) 

2024 Distinguished Senior Award Recipient Reception Poster (.pdf) 

Grant DeBruin is a Sustainable Plant Systems—Agroecology major who focused on excelling in his studies and internships to better serve his family, their dairy farm, and his community.

Grant joined the Ohio State Dairy Judging Team, despite having no prior experience with contest participation. He said, “It was a rough start.” After a poor showing at his first contest, he practiced and competed at the World Dairy Exposition in Madison, Wisconsin. His practice paid off. “I surpassed all expectations, especially my own,” he said. The Ohio State team won an overall breed prize, placed 3rd in another breed, and placed 4th overall in oral reasons, which was a new Ohio State record. Grant placed 3rd in Guernsey cows, 2nd in Brown Swiss, and 14th overall. His surprising success is a reminder that “hard work and persistence are the keys to success.”

Grant is an active member of Ohio State’s FarmHouse—Alpha Tau Zeta social fraternity, one of 32 chapters in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to building professional connections, the house supports the physical, social, moral, intellectual, and spiritual development of members. He established strong friendships, supported members during personal challenges, and found encouragement when he needed it. He also attended several leadership conferences and events. His nominator notes, “Grant was selected as one of only 12 undergraduates to attend a Power of 7 leadership conference in Dallas, Texas.

During Grant’s dairy farms internship, he served as an equipment shop assistant at Twin Oak Farm and assistant manager and herdsman at the Mount Sterling Farm. Since his family farm differs from most modern confinement systems, he learned practical, theoretical, and interpersonal skills including record-keeping, animal health, equipment maintenance, people management, and crop production. He gained broader industry connections and insight into why his family farms the way they do.

Grant’s mentor, Dr. David Barker, is his research advisor and a family friend. Grant’s father and Dr. Barker have been friends since college. In addition, Grant’s family dairy farm focuses on pasturing, and Dr. Barker’s specialties are forage research and physiology. Grant’s honors research project involved gathering data on pasture species composition under differential grazing schemes and management. Much of the information comes from the Ohio State ATI, Wooster sheep farm. He also helped take alfalfa forage samples for variety testing trials at the Western Agricultural Research Station in Clark County near South Charleston, Ohio.

Grant has continued working on his family’s dairy farm when possible throughout his college career. He plans to return to take over its management after graduation. He is also contemplating a second career in the agronomy or soil science industries.

Service, involvement, and accolades: FarmHouse—Alpha Tau Zeta Fraternity, vice president of admin., co-recruitment chair, director - promotions & alumni relations | Buckeye Dairy Club, 1st vice pres., 2nd vice pres. | Crops and Soils Club | Dean’s List | Newcomb Scholar | Honors Student | St. Thomas More Newman Center, choir member | Gamma Sigma Alpha honors society | OSU Dairy Challenge team | Students of Agronomy, Soils, and Environmental Sciences, 3rd place in national crops judging competition | Manager of the State Fair and Ohio Spring Dairy Expo milking parlor | Milky Way Grazers

Grant DeBruin - Press Release

Grant DeBruin - Photo Album