LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014/87th National FFA Convention & Expo) – Zach Weichel was named the 2014 American Star Farmer today during the eighth general session of the National FFA Convention & Expo.
When Zach Weichel was 8 years old, he received a bottle calf from his grandfather. From that experience and others on his family’s farm, he knew he wanted to start his own cattle enterprise.
The Oklahoman FFA member raises more than 300 beef stocker cattle that will be transported to feedlots. He also grows wheat on 30 acres for production.
“While helping in my family’s operation, I became interested in developing my own cattle business,” he said. “My dad and grandfather’s knowledge of the livestock business has helped me deal with new situations as the volume of my herds have increased.”
A student majoring in animal science at Oklahoma State University, Weichel plans on returning to his operation full-time. Weichel said his goal of expanding his enterprise will come from advancing his knowledge through his education, conferences and practical experience.
“The satisfaction I get from meeting the everyday challenges of farming and ranching is why I wanted a career in production agriculture.”
Weichel, 21, is a member of the Cordell FFA Chapter in New Cordell, Okla., led by advisor Brian Dowdie. He is the son of Keith and Lana Weichel.
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 award is the most prestigious honor awarded to a student by the National FFA Organization.
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 United States are nominated for a panel of judges to interview during convention. Four are named winners and receive cash awards totaling $4,000. All American Star finalists receive a $2,000 cash award. The Stars Over America are sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, DuPont Pioneer, Elanco, Farm Credit and Syngenta as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
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About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 579,678 student members as part of 7,570 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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