Do you ever wander the outside aisles of your grocery store and stop to think about where your food is coming from? Is it coming from your neighborhood farm, perhaps from a farm across the country, or even from the other side of the world?

The farm-to-table—or in this case, farm-to-store—process isn’t something consumers usually think about. However, Texas student Luke Anderson emphasizes that it’s something we need to be more mindful of. According to the United Nations (UN), the current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030 and 9.8 billion by 2050.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be very challenging to feed our population in the future,” explained Anderson.

Anderson, who hasn’t even started West Texas A&M University yet, is already concerned about how our economy and population will sustain themselves in the coming decades.

“Plant and soil scientists are needed to develop solutions to provide food for humans, livestock, and poultry. I want to be part of this solution,” said Anderson. “In addition to a degree in plant and soil science, I would like a Ph.D. in plant genetics. I hope to create new varieties of crops that have increased yields and higher nutritional value.”

Students like Luke fuel the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s commitment to giving back generously each year.

“I have been attending the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo since I was a baby,” Anderson shared.



The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is deeply committed to supporting the education of the next generation. As one of the largest scholarship providers in the United States, the Rodeo prides itself on fostering the next generation of leaders, innovators and changemakers. Anderson is an example of how the scholarships the Rodeo provides can change the trajectory of some young people’s lives.

“This desire to make a difference is all because of the experiences the Houston Livestock Show has given me, and for that, I am truly thankful,” said Anderson.

And it’s those experiences that stick with so many of these students. Some have never been to the Rodeo, but others like Anderson and Cale Cornelius, have been coming since they were in diapers.

“I was basically raised at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,” explained Cornelius.

Cornelius has vivid memories of the Rodeo from her early childhood. She says she started gaining an interest in livestock and agriculture when her mom was the chairman of the Livestock Committee.

“I remember watching the exhibitors walk down the aisles, and I remember specifically telling my mom that that’s what I wanted to do,” said Cornelius.

But before she would eventually start raising her cattle and showing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, she started small, but not with cattle – with an animal who has four legs, wool and a whole lot of speed.

But she didn’t raise this animal – she rode it.

“I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was only five, marching down onto the arena floor with my boots, jeans, helmet, and chest protector on. I was on my way to ride what, at the time, I thought was the biggest, meanest, and fastest animal I had ever seen — a sheep,” explained Cornelius.

She walked right in, full of confidence, with her blonde hair nestled into her oversized black cowboy hat, grinning ear to ear.

“And I remember the announcers being so enthusiastic when they called my name and then I remember just closing my eyes and holding on and then I opened them and the rodeo clowns are standing over top of me,” explained Cornelius.

And now 12 years later, she says it’s truly a full circle moment for her and her family. She is coming back to NRG Park, but not to ride a sheep during mutton bustin’– but as a Rodeo scholar.

“I am so thankful that the Rodeo prepared me for so much and I know that I will use these skills for the rest of my life.”

So, for Cornelius and Anderson, they are truly products of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. They are examples of how one three-week event can change the trajectory of someone’s life. They were inspired by the excitement and challenges of showing animals and, in Anderson’s case, growing plants. This inspiration led them to pursue related careers in adulthood. Anderson emphasizes the need for more young people to become interested in these fields.

“Agriculture and livestock are crucial for a thriving ecosystem and a prosperous future,” said Anderson. “I believe that I’ll be able to give back to the world all because of what the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarship will be able to allow me to gain that education.”

“This scholarship will allow me to get my degree in animal science, which will help me thrive in a career in the same industry I grew up in,” said Cornelius.

Each of the 504 students has been awarded a $20,000 scholarship for higher education. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is proud to be able to not only provide these funds to support these students’ futures but to also offer year-round support as they embark on their next journey in life.