Oklahoma entrepreneur named 2012 Star Farmer finalist by National FFA Organization

INDIANAPOLIS (September, 2012/National FFA Organization) - Without question, Jeremy Weichel has production agriculture in his blood. A fifth-generation family farmer, Weichel has known for years that he wants to pursue a career in production agriculture. As his farming operation has grown, so too has Weichel’s passion for agriculture, and he looks forward to what the future has in store for him on the family’s western Oklahoma farm.

The National FFA Organization has named the 22-year-old Cordell, Okla., resident a 2012 American Star Farmer finalist, one of the organization’s highest honors. He will compete with three other finalists at the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 24 - 27, in Indianapolis.

Each year at the national convention and expo, 16 national finalists – four in each category – vie for the organization’s top awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience. These awards honor students who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through their supervised agricultural experience; demonstrated outstanding management skills; earned the American FFA Degree – the organization’s highest level of accomplishment; and met other agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements. Each finalist will be interviewed by a panel of judges, who will ultimately name the top candidate in each area. The winner will be announced in an onstage ceremony and will receive a plaque and an award of $4,000. The runners-up will also receive a plaque and $2,000 each.

Weichel purchases 500-pound steers and sells them at about 750 pounds. The steers graze on grassland or wheat pasture, depending on the time of year. Grazing cattle allows him to make productive use of his land without compromising the quality of his crops. Weichel also has worked at the Oklahoma State University Wheat Pasture Research Stations, and he plans to apply his experience to his own farm. The Weichel family has been farming and raising cattle in western Oklahoma for more than 100 years.

Weichel is a senior at Oklahoma State University, where he is studying animal science. He was a member of Cordell FFA in Oklahoma. His advisor was Brian Dowdle. Weichel was valedictorian of his high school class. He is the son of Keith and Lana Weichel.

The American FFA Degree recognition programs, such as the American Star Awards, are co-sponsored by Alltech Inc.; Case IH; Elanco; Farm Credit; Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Business; and Syngenta as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.