National FFA names 2017 American Star award finalists

The American Star Awards represents the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients.

Published on July 23, 2017 6:47PM

INDIANAPOLIS — the National FFA Organization on July 21 selected 16 students from throughout the U.S. as finalists for its 2017 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

The American Star Awards represents the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients, FFA officials said in a press release. The award recognizes FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through the completion of a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program.

A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows members to learn by doing. Members can own and operate an agricultural business, intern at an agricultural business or conduct an agriculture-based scientific experiment and report the results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

A panel of judges will interview finalists and select one winner for each award at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis. The four winners will be announced during an onstage ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 26.

ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, Elanco and Syngenta sponsor the American FFA Degree recognition program.

The finalists include:

American Star Farmer

Joseph Arnold of the Lac qui Parle Valley FFA Chapter in Minnesota

Nickolas James Vollmer of the Merino FFA Chapter in Colorado

Jake Fanning of the Laverne FFA Chapter in Oklahoma

Mark Cavallero of the Madera FFA Chapter in California

American Star in Agribusiness

Nathan M. DeYoung of the Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana

Austin D. Nordyke of the Hugoton FFA Chapter in Kansas

Audra Montgomery of the Carrington FFA Chapter in North Dakota

Shaun Wenrick of the Anna FFA Chapter in Ohio

American Star in Agricultural Placement

Matthew S. Ries of the Lomira FFA Chapter in Wisconsin

Devin Debruhl of the Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana

Kellie Mae Einck of the South O’Brien FFA Chapter in Iowa

Bailey Wilson of the Pilot Point FFA Chapter in Texas

American Star in Agriscience

Chrysta Noelle Beck of the Pettisville FFA Chapter in Ohio

Elizabeth Baker-Mikesell of the Greenwood FFA Chapter in Pennsylvania

Leah Danielle Hefty of the DeKalb FFA Chapter in Indiana

Loren Gregory King of the Branch Area Career Centers FFA Chapter in Michigan

Visit for more information about the American Star Awards.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.


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