1422 Elbridge Payne Road #250, Chesterfield, MO 63017
Phone: 217/251-3659; e-mail: editor@ruralmarketingnews.com

BrownfieldAgNews reports:

The National FFA Organization recognizes four students each year with its top honor, the American Star Awards.

Austin Stanton of Missouri was awarded the American Star Farmer.

Stanton owns more than 15,000 hens and sells the eggs to neighbors, restaurants, and grocery stores. The Centralia FFA Chapter member also raises hogs and grows potatoes and radishes to diversify his operation.

He tells Brownfield the award means even more to him because he is continuing his family's farming legacy.

"We came from the Irish potato famine farming, settled on our land in 1845 and are still farming on the same land- it's just humbling," he says.

Colin Wegner of the United South Central FFA Chapter in Minnesota was awarded the Star in Ag Placement for his work on his family's corn and soybean farm. The family also has a seed dealership and trucking business.

His advice to members who want to do something similar is to find something they like.

"I know that really made a difference for me- that was kind of a turning point," he says.

Eric Koehlmoos, of the South O'Brien FFA Chapter in Iowa, received the Star in Agriscience. His supervised agricultural experience was examining the ethanol potential of switchgrass and prairie cordgrass.

Ben Curtin with the Taylorville FFA Chapter in Illinois received the Star in Agribusiness. His SAE is his metal working shop that specializes in ag products.

Sixteen American Star Award finalists are nominated for their accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experience programs by judges who then interview the finalists during the national convention. The four winners receive $4,000 and the finalists receive $2,000.