INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Aug. 28, 2015/National FFA Organization) – Dakota Siegler of Lake Geneva, Wis., remembers fondly playing with his farm toys in the house. His toys would be kept busy planting, picking or baling hay, all dependent on the current farming season. His love for farming continued to grow, and when he was old enough, he attended tractor safety certification so he could drive tractors to help his dad with the five acres of hay they owned at the time.
Today, his love for agriculture has resulted in Siegler 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.
Siegler's supervised agricultural experience with FFA began with helping his dad on his crop production land. As he continued to work with his father, Siegler's interest in forage production grew. Soon he rented seven acres and planted hay. In 2009, he began Dakota's Custom Works (DCW). DCW provides custom forage services and sells various forage products such as hay and straw. DCW offers custom hay cutting, raking, baling and chopping. Siegler continues to expand his services. He currently has 30 custom forage accounts and an additional 10 regular hay-cutting customers.
In order to ensure success for his agribusiness, Siegler keeps up with new technologies and always listens to his customers.
Siegler plans to continue growing and expanding DCW. He also hopes to increase the acreage he bales from 175 to 500 acres and his custom work from 630 to more than 800 acres. Siegler says he feels like he is living his dream and sees it only getting better with hard work and dedication.
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.
Siegler is the son of Jerry and Marleen Siegler. He is a member of the Badger FFA Chapter, led by advisors Larry Plapp and Candice Olson.
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