Student 'emotional' after winning honors at convention
By TIM HEARDEN
Kurt Parsons began helping on his family's custom harvest business in Ducor, Calif., when he was 8 years old.
But he took a much more active role in the operation in early 2010 when his father, John, died unexpectedly. In addition to helping his mother, Cecilia, run the business with his brothers, he maintained his studies and remained active in FFA. He and his brothers harvest about 5,000 acres of grain and vegetable seeds annually.
Parsons, 21, was recognized for his efforts last weekend at the National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, when he was named the organization's 2012 American Star in Agricultural Placement.
"I was actually rather surprised" to have been chosen from among the four finalists, Parsons told the Capital Press. "I was really excited afterward. It just felt like a great accomplishment.
"I was really pretty emotional getting it," he said. "I would have been happy to have him be there when I got it, though."
Parsons was one of 30 individuals or groups from the Pacific Northwest and California to receive honors in various categories at the 85th annual convention, which was held Oct. 24-27.
American Stars were named in four categories -- farmer, agribusiness, agriscience and ag placement. In each case, the winner was chosen from among four finalists after judging this summer and interviews at the convention. The winners each received $4,000, while the other finalists were each given $2,000.
The ag placement award is for those whose supervised project was to work for a company related to agriculture -- in Parsons' case, his family's custom harvest operation. Over the years, Parsons developed a wealth of skills, from harvesting crops to working with new or potential customers.
Now a student at Modesto Junior College, Parsons plans to transfer to Oklahoma State University next fall and earn a bachelor's degree in crop science, he said.
"After that I plan to return home and work on the farm," he said, "and hopefully expand it."
National FFA: https://www.ffa.org/Pages/default.aspx