The Star Awards represent the best of the best among Kansas State FFA Degree recipients. Finalists for the award have mastered skills in production, finance, management and/or research. These members have gone above and beyond in their supervised agricultural experience. All of their supervised agriculture experiences are entrepreneurship specifically in production agriculture. The state winner will receive a $250 cash award. The sponsor of the State Star Farmer is United Bank and Trust.
The Finalists for the 2013 State Star Farmer are:
Northeast Star Farmer
Audrey Schmitz, Axtell
Schmitz’s SAE is in Dairy Production Entrepreneurship. Schmitz’s family raises registered Holsteins and Jerseys and she owns 10 cows, 14 heifers and three breeding bulls. She has many responsibilities on her dairy operation ranging from setting up and cleaning the milking parlor to checking for mastitis, calving assistance and dehorning calves. Schmitz’s experience in the dairy judging Career Development Event (CDE) has helped her make culling and breeding decisions in her herd. Her favorite part about her SAE is showing her cattle at state and county fairs. Schmitz is the daughter of Joe and Amy Schmitz. Her advisor is Kristin Strathman.
Southwest Star Farmer
Josie Mueller, Hugoton
Mueller’s SAE is in Beef Production Entrepreneurship. Encouraged by her father, Mueller took out a small youth loan from the FSA office and began to build her herd. She began with purchasing two cows from her dad and three cows from an outside buyer. For a couple years so traded her steers to her dad for heifers and has since built her herd up to 20 cows. Raising her own cattle, Mueller has many responsibilities checking cattle, calving and feeding. Mueller is the daughter of Rob and Debbie Mueller. Her advisor is Les McNally.
Northwest Star Farmer
Dylan Sprigg, Norton
Sprigg’s SAE is in Diversified Livestock Production Entrepreneurship. He owns and 16 cow/calf pairs and sells the calves at weaning weight each Fall. In addition to raising cattle, Sprigg’s also purchases four hogs to show and sell at the county fair. His greatest challenge is watching the livestock markets to determine when to buy and sell cattle as well as watch the grain markets to determine when to keep feeding grain or if he should turn his cattle out to pasture. Sprigg is the son of Dwight and Michelle Sprigg. His advisor is Garrett Beydler.
North Central Star Farmer
Casey Adams, Chapman
Adams SAE is in Equine Science Entrepreneurship. Adams has her own breeding operation, owns 13 Quarter Horses and competes in rodeo events across the Nation. She says that the accomplishment she is most proud of was placing 6th in breakaway roping at Nationals on a horse she trained. In addition to training her own horses, Adams trains horses for other people and competes on them as well.Adams is the son of Buddy and Suzan Adams. Her advisors are Trenton Horn and Walter Pitts.
East Central Star Farmer
Wesley Davis, Mission Valley
Davis’ SAE is in Beef Production Entrepreneurship. Davis purchased 30 feeder heifers from Overbrook Livestock in late fall and fed them through the winter months. Beginning in April, he turned them out to pasture to graze before selling the heifers back to Overbrook Livestock in July. Davis’ project is unique because no one in his family has worked with feeder calves. He investigated the feeder process and identified ways to improve his farm to accommodate for the cattle before taking out a $10,000 loan from Flint Hills Bank. Davis is the son of Boyd and Kim Davis. His advisor is Kelly Hoelting.
This year’s Star Farmer is:
State Star Farmer
Zachary Foster, Labette County
Foster’s SAE is in Diversified Crop Production Entrepreneurship. In 2010, Foster started with 60 acres and currently operates a 200 acre row crop operation planting corn, soybeans and wheat. The first year Foster farmed the weather cooperated and he was successful. However, for the past two years, the drought in Southeast Kansas has affected his crops and he had to apply for federal crop insurance. Foster said he has learned that farming is more than just sitting on a tractor, but that it really takes a strong business mindset to be successful. This challenge makes him that much more eager to be successful. Foster is the son of Kenneth and Therese Foster. His advisors are Jeff Falkenstien, Dustin Wiley and Kyle Zwahlen.