SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Five FFA members have been selected as finalists for the Star Farmer award, which will be presented during the annual meeting of the Illinois FFA Association at the Bank of Springfield Center.
The star honored at the convention will compete for the national award later this year.
Adviser: Cynthia Feltmeyer
Parents: Kevin and Wendy Erbsen
SAE Project: Payton Erbsen is a fifth-generation dairy farmer, and he started his registered Holstein herd with a calf to show when he was 9 years old. Now, his herd totals 41 head, and he exhibits his cattle at national shows.
The District 1 Star Farmer takes time to select bulls to A.I. his animals that will result in high producing and genetically exceptional offspring. Erbsen has focused on his dairy cattle evaluation skills and traveled internationally to judge dairy cattle.
Adviser: Larry Haigh
Parents: David and Dana Masching
SAE Project: The Herscher FFA member began his FFA project with 10% ownership in his father and grandfather’s cattle farm. The following year, he increased his ownership of the beef feedlot to 15%, and he rented 40 acres where he grew corn and soybeans.
In 2018, the District 2 Star Farmer increased ownership in the beef operation to 33%. Masching increased his crop acres to 40 acres of corn, as well as an 80-acre field that is farmed with a crop share lease. He also grew soybeans with both cash rent and crop share leases.
Adviser: Wyatt McGrew
Parents: Monte and Carrie Lowderman
SAE Project: The District 3 Star Farmer manages a beef herd that includes Hereford, Angus and Simmental influence cattle. He has partnerships with breeders on five donor cows and two bred heifers. With his half ownership of these females and taking advantage of embryo transplant technology Lowderman has been able to accelerate numbers and market awareness of his RJL Brand of proven genetics and show ring success.
The Macomb FFA member purchases show barrows and gilts in the spring that he feeds and exhibits. He sells the market-ready animals in the fall to individuals in his community.
He plans to use the knowledge and skills he has learned through his project during college as he participates in collegiate livestock judging contests.
Adviser: Megan Beckmier
Parents: Justin and Monica Green
SAE Project: Makenna Green started her FFA project with 28 acres of soybean seed production, which has grown to total of 314 acres that are on a corn and soybean rotation.
The District 4 Star Farmer has found her passion for agronomy through her FFA project and plans to study crop science in college. Green’s goal is to continue to grow her farming operation.
Advisers: Tim McDermott and Marissa Modglin
Parents: Eric and Cindie Allscheid
SAE Project: Waterloo FFA member Krista Allscheid, raises, shows and sells Polled and Horned Hereford cattle. She travels throughout the Midwest to show her cattle at county fairs, state fairs and national shows.
Allscheid sells a steer at her county fair livestock auction each year, and she sells her market steers as sides of beef to customers in her area.
The District 5 Star Farmer strives to use quality genetics and popular sires to grow and develop her herd by having high quality calves that are competitive in the show ring and can be used in her herd.