INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Aug. 28, 2015/National FFA Organization) – FFA and agriculture has always played a role in Benjamin Niendick's life. So when he became involved in FFA, the only question on the Wellington, Mo., resident's mind was what his supervised agricultural experience would be.
After discussions with his family, Niendick came up with the idea of wheat straw. Niendick could bale the straw and sell it to local farm and home stores as well as individuals.
Today, this entrepreneurial spirit has resulted in Niendick being named a 2015 finalist for the American Star in Agribusiness award, one of the most prestigious honors awarded to a student by the National FFA Organization.
Niendick's business first began with himself, his dad and a classmate baling and delivering the straw. Soon, he had to expand his number of employees as his business began to grow. His customer base soon grew from 1 to 15, and from 2008-2014 his average production was more than 17,000 bales. In addition to supplying local farm and home stores, in 2013, he contracted with pipeline companies to supply to them as well. He was delivered straw from Quincy, Ill., to Tulsa, Okla.
Niendick made sure that when he began his business he developed a relationship with his custumers by meeting their demands in terms of quality, quantity and price. Since he began his program, he has sold his entire inventory before the produce is ready to be baled and stored. He is also constantly looking for new customers.
Currently he is studying agricultural systems management at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He says his vision for his career as an agriculturalist is found, in part, in the FFA Creed, as he desires “to work efficiently and think clearly.”
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.
Niendick is the son of Neal and Linda Niendick. He is a member of the Wellington-Napoleon Chapter, led by advisor Devin Garland.
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.
# # #
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
Twitter and the official
National FFA Organization blog.
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