Tyler Vathauer began raising cattle at age seven, bucket feeding a herd of 16 that his grandfather bought at sale. In eighth grade, he bought 20 cows himself to raise for beef production. Through hard work and dedication, Vathauer today has more than 120 in his operation.
Through sound business management and smart financial decisions, the Kansas FFA member was able to use his profits to rent nearly 240 acres of land to raise corn and soybeans and purchase a quarter of D&S Cattle Company, a feeding operation started by his father and grandfather which feeds about 2,800 head of cattle annually.
In the business, Vathauer makes key decisions concerning operations, oversees employees and keeps meticulous financial records.
“My passion from a very young age has been in production agriculture and I know this is what I will be doing until I am no longer able,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of a farming family and hope that many future generations within my family will continue the pursuit of helping to feed the world.
Vathauer is a 2013 finalist for an American Star Farmer award from the National FFA Organization.
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.
Vathauer, 21, is a member of the Blue Valley High School FFA chapter in Randolph, Kan. In 2011, he was named a national finalist in the beef production entrepreneurship proficiency and earned a state FFA Degree. He participated in several state proficiency award competitions and completed career development events in livestock evaluation, dairy foods, poultry, agricultural mechanics and Greenhand agricultural mechanics. He was also named state Star Farmer in his district and was a finalist in the state Star Farmer award competition. He served two years as vice president of his high school FFA chapter led by advisor is Tim Kilgore.
He is the son of Janece and Scott Vathauer.
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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.