INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, July 25, 2016/National FFA Organization) – The National FFA Organization has selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2016 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.
The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. Recognized are FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs; earned an American FFA Degree, the highest level of achievement the organization bestows upon a member; and met agricultural education, leadership and scholarship requirements.
Each star finalist receives $2,000 from the National FFA Foundation.
A panel of judges will interview finalists and select one winner for each award at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 19-22, in Indianapolis. The four winners will receive an additional $2,000 and be announced at the convention and expo’s third general session as part of the Stars Over America Pageant on Thursday, Oct. 20.
The American FFA Degree recognition program is sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Service, Case IH, Elanco, Farm Credit and Syngenta as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
The finalists include:
American Star Farmer
Tony Phillip Lopes of the Gustine FFA Chapter in California
Tysen Rosenau of the Carrington FFA Chapter in North Dakota
Evan Schaefer of the Miami Trace FFA Chapter in Ohio
Tyler Jacob Schnaithman of the Garber FFA Chapter in Oklahoma
American Star in Agribusiness
Terry Napier of the Madison Southern FFA Chapter in Kentucky
David Stenzel of the United South Central FFA Chapter in Minnesota
Garrett Dale Yerigan of the Pryor FFA Chapter in Oklahoma
Shane A. Mueller of the Garretson FFA Chapter in South Dakota.
American Star in Agricultural Placement
Joseph Knapp Boddiford of the Southeast Bulloch FFA Chapter in Georgia
Riley A. Lewis of the Prairie Heights FFA Chapter in Indiana
Brett Petersen of the Kerkohoven Murdock Sunburg FFA Chapter in Minnesota
Nathan Leystra of the Randolph Cambria-Friesland FFA Chapter of Wisconsin
American Star in Agriscience
Jordan Paine of the Southern Valley FFA Chapter in Nebraska
Elizabeth A. Renner of the West Central FFA Chapter in South Dakota
Taylor Shayne Swinson of the Sulphur Springs FFA Chapter in Texas
Kaitlin Hallam of the Spanish Fork FFA Chapter in Utah
FFA.org/stars for more information about the American Star Awards.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 629,367 student members who belong to one of 7,757 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
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About National FFA Organization The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 629,367 student members as part of 7,757 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
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About National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees comprised of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA alumni, the foundation is a separately-registered nonprofit organization. About 82 percent of every dollar received by the foundation supports FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit