Ohioan named American Star Farmer

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FFA award
Austin Wippel (center) being recognized at the Ohio FFA Convention, in April.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ohio FFA members have a lot to be proud of at this year’s National FFA Convention, Oct. 28-31, where one of their own was named American Star Farmer.

Austin Wippel, of Orient, Ohio, was named Star American Farmer, one of the top honors an FFA member can ever receive. The 21-year-old began baling 30 acres of straw before becoming an FFA member in 2009, and today he owns and operates a hay and straw baling business as well as farms 65 acres of row crop production.

Wippel produces 65 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa hay in rotation. Between the hay and straw, he handles an average of 23,500 small square bales of hay and straw per year.

Learning skills

His business has allowed him to see the importance of money management, equipment purchases and marketing strategies. In addition, Wippel said his involvement with FFA has shaped him as a person and continues to motivate him every day.

He’s currently a student at Ohio State University, studying agronomy. He plans to graduate in 2017 and continue to diversify his business.

Wippel is the son of Jay and Marci Wippel. He is a member of the Westfall FFA Chapter, led by advisers Rick Metzger, Rachel Scior and Jake Wuebben.

Chapter award

Also representing Ohio on the state was the Firelands FFA chapter, which received the National Model of Innovation Chapter Award,  in community development.

Firelands FFA was awarded a plaque in an on-stage ceremony during the second general session, Oct. 29.

To win the award, the chapter  crocheted winter items for community members in need. After hosting and participating in five crocheting workshops, 51 students crocheted a total of 71 blankets, hats, headbands and scarves that were donated to three families during the holidays as well as chapter sponsors.

Crocheting for a cause allowed members to creatively express themselves while helping those in need, during the cold winter season.

Another local standout was Emily Buck, communications professor at Ohio State University, who received the Honorary American FFA Degree.

About the awards

The Models of Innovation awards are sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

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.

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.

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