April 20, 2024

Stars over Indiana: FFA winners recognized for outstanding work

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Four outstanding FFA students were selected as State Stars at the 94th annual Indiana FFA State Convention.

After an application and a personal interview, as well as a site visit, these members were deemed Star Finalists in their respective categories.

“These FFA members have demonstrated many important qualities through their Supervised Agricultural Experience, which has set them on a good path,” said Scott Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids.

“These FFA students embrace attitudes and actions such as teamwork, integrity, innovation, adaptability, commitment and passion.”

Meet The Stars

Star in Agricultural Placement — Ryan Kihlstrum, Eastern Hancock FFA Chapter: Kihlstrum is a field tile technician at B Thompson Associates LLC. He started with no experience or knowledge of field tile and is now able to recognize problems and fix them, complete tasks on his own and think steps ahead. He also analyzes field maps, selects tile patterns and installs tile at the correct grade. He has recently started overseeing new hires and assists with their training.

Star in Agriscience — Matthias Hefty, DeKalb FFA Chapter: Hefty wanted to reduce hay waste from his experiences raising sheep and meat goats. By reducing hay waste, he could increase the efficiency of the goat enterprise he shared with his sister. He collected 81 data points, from three variables and a control, and was able to reduce hay waste by 85%. As the responsibility of his goat SAE increased, so did the use of the scientific method to solve problems in the goat herd.

Star in Agribusiness — Cole McCloskey, Lewis Cass FFA Chapter: McCloskey began buying, restoring and maintaining antique tractors and equipment after watching his dad and grandpa do it for many years. In 2021, he bought six tractors and many different implements and machinery. He plans to continue buying by selling some of the pieces. One of the biggest challenges has been finding parts for some of the tractors and has resulted in the need to recreate parts, as well. His skills continue to develop as he takes on more advanced and complex tasks to repair and maintain the antique equipment.

Star Farmer — Lucas Lyons, Jay County FFA Chapter: As the seventh generation on his family farm, Lyons has always been deeply immersed in agriculture. He began by helping out with the little tasks around the farm, which has progressed to five acres of hay, 65 acres of cash-rent ground and 30 to 40 goats he raises for market, all on his own. He manages his operation independently and still offers many hours of assistance to his family’s farm.

Each Star received a scholarship for $250 sponsored by the Jeff Lehman Family, a plaque and an award pin from AgReliant.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor