June 15, 2021

FFA star farmer finalists compete for top honor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — During the Stars Over Illinois ceremony, finalists for the Star Farmer award will be introduced at the Illinois Association FFA Convention.

These FFA members have been selected as district winners after an extensive process of evaluating the students and their record books.

Alyssa Miller

Chapter: Eastland

District: 1

FFA Advisers: Cynthia Feltmeyer and Breden Schultz

Parents: Lyle and Codee Miller

SAE Project: Alyssa Miller has several goals for her FFA project that include raising cattle to exhibit at shows and to sell to others, as well as increasing her cow herd. Through her project, Miller is learning how to give shots to her cattle to prevent sickness along with how to safety move cattle with a trailer.

Jacob Bressner

Chapter: Pontiac

District: 2

FFA Adviser: Jesse Faber

Parents: Jeff and Jill Bressner

SAE Project: For his fiber and oil crop project, Jacob Bressner is working with his dad to learn a variety of skills to raise soybeans. In addition to gaining knowledge about crop chemicals, Bressner is also focused on machinery maintenance, doing fall and spring tillage, operating the combine and assisting with planting. Bressner also has a beef production project where he is involved with showing his cattle. The FFA member is learning how to evaluate livestock and vaccinate his calves.

Mason Fricke

Chapter: Triopia

District: 3

FFA Adviser: Brianna Harmon

Parents: Keith and De De Fricke

SAE Project: Raising and showing goats is the focus for Mason Fricke’s FFA project. Fricke plans to expand the goat herd to have enough animals to sell in sales or to host an online sale. When it is time for kidding, Fricke said, he moves his goats into a kidding barn where he sets up personal pens with heat lamps. When the goats are born, Fricke will dry them off with a towel and make sure the kids are nursing so they receive adequate colostrum from the does. “At three months, I will wean the kids off the mamma and the doe will either go out on pasture to graze all spring or I might show her at some fairs,” he said.

Hunter Mott

Chapter: Central A&M

District: 4

FFA Adviser: Betsy Burgener

Parents: Jeremy and Lisa Mott

SAE Project: Hunter Mott operates a chicken farm for his FFA project where he raises chickens and sells the eggs. He began his project with 40 chickens and has increased the size of his flock to 50 chickens. “My goal is to get more chickens and more customers,” he said. Mott has many responsibilities with his project that include buying and selling chickens, managing the health of the chickens and making feed rations for the flock. In addition, he collects, cleans, cartons and sells eggs, as well as works to acquire new customers to purchase eggs and delivers eggs to customers.

Shana Lueking

Chapter: Christ Our Rock Lutheran

District: 5

FFA Adviser: Doug Lueking

Parents: Doug and Shelia Lueking

SAE Project: Shana Lueking raises Holstein dairy cows and is interested in adding other breeds to her herd. “Currently I have registered Holsteins and I want to expand and improve that herd but I want to add some ‘color’ to my herd,” Lueking said. She also plans to exhibit her animals at more fairs. Lueking is striving to learn more management techniques and improve her knowledge of dairy cattle nutrition. “I want to be able to create the best diet plan for my show animals,” she said. “This is an extremely important goal to me because I know it is a huge way I can improve my herd.”

Martha Blum

Field Editor