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National FFA Organization Names 2017 American Star Finalists

 
Today, the National FFA Organization selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2017 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.
 
The American Star Awards represents the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. The award recognizes FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through the completion of a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows members to learn by doing. Members can own and operate an agricultural business, intern at an agricultural business or conduct an agriculture-based scientific experiment and report the 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.
 
A panel of judges will interview finalists and select one winner for each award at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis. The four winners will be announced during an onstage ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 26.
ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, Elanco and Syngenta sponsor the American FFA Degree recognition program.
The finalists include:
 
American Star Farmer
Joseph Arnold of the Lac qui Parle Valley FFA Chapter in Minnesota
Nickolas James Vollmer of the Merino FFA Chapter in Colorado
Jake Fanning of the Laverne FFA Chapter in Oklahoma
Mark Cavallero of the Madera FFA Chapter in California
 
American Star in Agribusiness 
Nathan M. DeYoung of the Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana
Austin D. Nordyke of the Hugoton FFA Chapter in Kansas
Audra Montgomery of the Carrington FFA Chapter in North Dakota
Shaun Wenrick of the Anna FFA Chapter in Ohio
 
American Star in Agricultural Placement
Matthew S. Ries of the Lomira FFA Chapter in Wisconsin
Devin Debruhl of the Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana
Kellie Mae Einck of the South O’Brien FFA Chapter in Iowa
Bailey Wilson of the Pilot Point FFA Chapter in Texas
 
American Star in Agriscience
Chrysta Noelle Beck of the Pettisville FFA Chapter in Ohio
Elizabeth Baker-Mikesell of the Greenwood FFA Chapter in Pennsylvania
Leah Danielle Hefty of the DeKalb FFA Chapter in Indiana
Loren Gregory King of the Branch Area Career Centers FFA Chapter in Michigan
 
Visit FFA.org/stars for more information about the American Star Awards.
 
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.
 

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Polycultures with Dr. Jillian Bainard

Video: Polycultures with Dr. Jillian Bainard

Producers rely on grazing native, tame perennial pastures or stockpiled feed to typically feed their livestock. Diverse forage mixtures, such as polycultures, give producers an opportunity to provide high-quality feed while also gaining additional benefits for the soil and ecosystem. Polyculture cover cropping, also known as multi-species or cocktail mixture planting, is the intentional co-planting of several species of plants in the same field or plot. New research is underway to find the best mixtures to plant as forage to improve crop yield, soil organic matter, moisture retention, weed control, and even add more nutrients – all potentially great benefits to farmers, ranchers, and producers.

Join Young Agrarians and Rural Routes to Climate Solutions to learn about forage polycultures with Dr. Jillian Bainard of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. As a Forage Ecophysiologist, Dr. Bainard’s research involves studying forage crops and the interface between plants and their environment. Through her work, she collaborates with many other disciplines including forage breeders, ecologists, animal scientists, soil scientists, economists and more to develop forage practices that are beneficial nutritionally, environmentally, and economically. Dr. Bainard’s current areas of research include:

- diverse annual forage crops (polycultures, cover crops) - integrated crop-livestock systems - plant response to stress - plant endopolyploidy and genome size - plant ecology in rangeland ecosystems

This webinar is a great opportunity to learn more about the latest polyculture research happening in the Canadian prairies.