SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Star Farmer will be announced during
the 86th annual Illinois Association FFA Convention set for June 10-12 in
Competing for the top honor are the following FFA members:
Ryan Noe started his fruit production project by raising two
acres of watermelons with his brother. The District 1 Star Farmer grew three
varieties of watermelons and sold them at farmers markets in Peoria and
Metamora. Any surplus produce was donated to food banks and the Peoria Rescue
The following year, the Metamora FFA member added one acre
of pumpkins and 150 hills of honeydew melons to his project.
“We raised three varieties of watermelons and 12 pumpkin and
gourd varieties,” said the son of Ralph and Janet Noe. “Production totaled 2,400
melons and 400 pumpkins and gourds.”
Advised by Steve Keisewetter, Noe said he learned
responsibility and time management through his FFA project.
“With so much that has to be done, it was essential to
manage my time in order to accomplish my goals,” he said.
The high school senior plans to attend Illinois Central
College and then transfer to the University of Illinois to study engineering.
Noe’s goal is to be involved with a career related to agriculture.
Seneca FFA member Brandon Pasdertz works for Baudino Farms
for his FFA project. This operation includes corn and soybean production, as
well as an Angus and crossbred cow-calf herd and a show string of steers and
The high school senior completed a variety of tasks on the
farm, including cleaning bins, fitting calves and general equipment maintenance.
“In 2013, my role of a farm manager is greater than it ever
was,” the District 2 Star Farmer said. “I have taken over all the tillage work,
which I make all decisions on including depth, speed and when to work
Advised by Kent Weber and Jeff Maierhofer, Pasdertz learned
about leading people through his experience as an FFA member.
“Through FFA I have been given several opportunities to lead
not only FFA members, but kids from our school and from other schools,” he
“I have been give opportunities to teach kids about
agriculture locally and globally,” said the son of Joe and Danette
Pasdertz plans to enroll at Joliet Junior College before
transferring possibly to the University of Illinois. His career goals include
working for an agricultural business such as John Deere, Monsanto or Cargill.
The District 3 Star Farmer has a garden and a cattle herd
for his FFA projects. Over the past several years, Tyler Lentz increased his
cattle herd with purchases and calf births. He also has increased the variety of
plants grown in his garden.
Last year, the Liberty FFA member completed an artificial
“With the technology used to make artificial insemination
possible I have been able to improve my herd without having the specific bulls
on the farm,” he said.
“Having this skill will also make it possible for me to get
my name out in the cattle industry by not only having show cattle, but I can
also offer my services by being a certified artificial inseminator,” said Lentz,
the son of Carl and Robin Lentz.
Lentz held several offices for his chapter and at the
section level, and he has learned leadership skills through his FFA experiences.
His adviser is Steve Buyck.
The high school senior plans to study at Black Hawk College
and transfer to Western Illinois University to complete a degree in agriculture
business, as well as a minor in agronomy. He plans to continue raising cattle,
as well as work as a salesman for a seed company.
Brett Schewe has several projects for his supervised
agricultural experience including corn, soybean and wheat production, as well as
beef production. In addition, the District 4 Star Farmer planted a corn
production test plot of 40 acres that compared 26 different hybrids.
The son of Mark and Amy Schewe increased his corn production
research plot to 80 acres the second year, where he compared hybrids, fungicides
“The opportunities that the FFA has offered me through SAEs,
public speaking and being a section officer have given me speaking skills that
will help me all throughout life,” the high school junior said.
“FFA has also given me leadership skills being a section
officer and a chapter president has given me opportunities to lead students, as
well as make a difference in my community,” said Schewe, who is advised by Matt
The Mulberry Grove FFA member plans to attend Texas A&M
after high school to study ag business and ag education. His career goals
include continuing his farming operation and working as an agricultural teacher.
The District 5 Star Farmer raises pigs and cattle for her
“I started with four sows to breed for show pig litters,”
Layna Bond said. “With improving our genetics constantly, we were able to be
more competitive at the state-level shows.”
Last year, the Galatia FFA member exhibited the reserve
grand champion Yorkshire gilt in the open show at the Illinois State Fair. She
is the daughter of James and Micki Bond.
Advised by Tim Arnold, Bond learned communication skills
through her FFA activities.
“Going to different leadership camps and activities has
helped me to open my horizon to communicate with others,” she said. “Also to be
open to others opinions about different events.”
The high school senior plans to attend Lake Land College to
study animal science and also participate on the livestock judging team. Her
goals include transferring to a university to complete her degree and return to
the family farm to grow and improve the swine operation.