INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Aug. 28, 2015/National FFA Organization) – Dylan Massa, of Lamar, Mo., says he has always lived and breathed cattle. During his eighth grade year, when his agriculture teacher mentioned he would need a project during high school that would result in keeping records, his interest was sparked and his project began.
Today, that spark has resulted in him being named a 2015 finalist for the American Star Farmer award, one of the most prestigious honors awarded to a student by the National FFA Organization.
The 22 year old began his project with three cows and three heifers; today he has a herd of 300 and continues to invest in high-quality cattle. Throughout his supervised agricultural experience, he watched his roles, responsibilities and management decisions change. He has increased his confidence with more responsibilities and says he now can truly see himself as the owner/operator. Massa was able to buy out his grandpa's herd as well as his half of some of the farm's assets. He attained an associate's degree in general agriculture at Fort Scott Community College.
Massa says he is proud of the assets, knowledge and career path he gained through his SAE, and thanks to his experience in FFA, he is living the life he always dreamed.
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 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 program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE 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 by a panel of judges to interview during the national convention and expo. Four are named winners and receive cash awards totaling $4,000. All American Star finalists receive a $2,000 cash award. The American Star Awards are sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, Elanco, Farm Credit and Syngenta as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
Judging will occur in Louisville, Ky., during the 88th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 28-31, with the winner being announced during an onstage ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 29.
Massa is the son of Russ and Denny Massa. He is a member of the Liberal FFA Chapter, led by advisors Allie Runnels and Molly Garver.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members who belong to one of 7,665 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