Many of Connor J. Rose’s boyhood friends grew up on Montana ranches, learning from an early age how to care for livestock, property and the environment. He wanted to learn what they knew.
But Rose didn’t grow up on a ranch.
So the Montana FFA member with his father’s help bought two hogs and showed and sold them at the county fair.
“From that moment, I was hooked on agriculture,” he said.
The summer before his eighth-grade year, Rose asked his uncle for a job at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, a 9,000-acre resort with 175 commercial cows and 150 horses near Yellowstone National Park. His uncle managed the resort’s agricultural operations and hired Rose to take guests on evening horse-drawn wagon rides and help move cattle.
He became increasingly involved in agricultural operations and over the summers since has learned how to safely operate heavy machinery, manage livestock, upkeep property, work with governmental agencies and deal with environmental issues.
“I’ve been exposed to a tremendous number of experiences,” Rose said. “I feel that my skill development, knowledge and experiences have even surpassed those of my early childhood friends.”
Rose, a 2013 finalist for an American Star in Agricultural Placement award from the National FFA Organization, hopes someday to either manage or own his own large cattle ranch.
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are honored with an American Star award for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education. The award is the most prestigious honor awarded to a student by the National FFA Organization.
The American Star awards – including the American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience – are awarded to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of a supervised agricultural experience. A required activity in FFA, a supervised agriculture experience allows students to learn by doing by either owning and operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting 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.
Sixteen American Star award finalists from throughout the U.S. are nominated for a panel of judges to interview during convention. Four are named winners and receive cash awards totaling $4,000. All American Star finalists receive a $2,000 cash award. The Stars Over America are sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Services; CASE IH; DuPont Pioneer; Elanco; Farm Credit; and Syngenta as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
Rose, 21, is a member of the Shields Valley High School FFA chapter in Clyde Park, Mont., led by advisor and father Jim Rose. His mother is Cathy Rose.
He is attending Montana State University majoring in farm business management.
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About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 557,318 student members as part of 7,498 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at www.FFA.org, on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.