National FFA Organization Names Oklahoma Resident 2019 Star in Agribusiness
INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Nov. 1, 2019/National FFA Organization) – Marketing has always been an important part of any business’s success, but in the digital age, social media marketing is a must. Knowing this, Blake Kennedy, a member of the Tecumseh FFA Chapter in Oklahoma, decided to take over his family’s annual pig sale as part of his supervised agricultural experience (SAE). Kennedy said he saw untapped growth potential if he could just infuse his pig sale with some agribusiness marketing magic.
“My SAE is focused on the pig sale and running it and marketing it in different ways,” he said. “Being able to use technology and social media is a huge aspect in today’s time to help marketing better reach people, and so that’s something I wanted to do. I was very fortunate to be able to do it and have it take off and grow substantially.”
Kennedy is currently a senior in college, preparing to eventually earn a master’s degree and continue growing his pig sale and marketing ventures. He said the guidance and inspiration from his high school FFA advisors directly contributed to his current success in agribusiness marketing.
“They were very active in our chapter,” Kennedy said. “They wanted us to be more and more involved. They pushed us to do different events … and the more that I was able to get involved, I truly just enjoyed FFA.”
He added that the opportunities and support from his FFA advisors and surrounding community are the main motivations to continue his work.
“Having [advisors] come to my pig sale and be highly involved in it was something that I could tell they were very supportive in it,” Kennedy said. “And that’s something that you can’t take advantage of, having someone right there as an ag teacher that’s supporting you. Everything that I’ve been able to do, and to get to this point, has been a group effort.”
Kennedy’s main advice for FFA members who want to pursue their own SAEs is simple: be different.
“A lot of kids think they have to do it on something that everyone else is [doing], and it’s important to realize that no one’s the same,” he said. “An SAE can be over whatever you’re doing, and as crazy as it might be, … do it. 110 percent of it. Give it your all and seek advice.”
About the American Star Awards
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are honored with American Star Awards for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education.
The American Star Awards, including American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are presented to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of an SAE. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing, by either owning or 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. were nominated by a panel of judges who then interviewed the finalists during the national convention and expo. Four were named winners and received cash awards totaling $4,000. All American Star finalists received a $2,000 cash award. Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta sponsor the awards.
Judging occurred in Indianapolis during the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, with the winners announced during an onstage ceremony on Friday, Nov. 1.