June 12, 2024

Star in Agricultural Placement finalists

Brady Shank operates a skid steer to clean the barn on the farm where he works that has a 300-head cow/calf herd.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The winner of the Star in Agricultural Placement award will be announced during the Wednesday afternoon session of the Illinois FFA State Convention starting at 2 p.m.

These FFA members are competing for this prestigious award.

Brady Shank

District: 1

Chapter: Sterling

Adviser: Meg Stanley

Parents: Steve and Kami Shank

SAE Project: Brady Shank works at a farm with a 300-head cow/calf herd, as well as grows alfalfa and oat forages for his FFA project. The FFA member is responsible for various tasks, including feeding cattle, administering vaccinations and harvesting forages, as well as managing feed areas and pastures.

Brushing horses is one of the daily chores Emma Bialko does at the three equestrian facilities where she works for her FFA project.

Emma Bialko

District: 2

Chapter: Peotone

Advisers: Abby Cowger and Dakota Cowger

Parents: Michael and Amy Bialko

SAE Project: The Peotone FFA member is employed at three equestrian facilities located in Will and Kankakee counties — Winsom Farm, Westgate Equestrian and Sunrise Farm. Bialko does daily horse chores that include feeding, cleaning and turnout. In addition to handling day-to-day operations of the facilities, Bialko also administers medications, trains horses for their respective discipline and manages public horse shows.

Elizabeth Corrie waters plants at Boehm’s Garden Center. Additional duties include potting annuals, perennials, shrubs and houseplants and assisting customers.

Elizabeth Corrie

District: 3

Chapter: Rushville-Industry

Adviser: Sydney Riden

Parents: Ryan and Carey Corrie

SAE Project: Elizabeth Corrie has been involved in the horticulture and nursery production industries for many years and grew up around the family-owned garden center, Boehm’s Garden Center. Some of Corrie’s responsibilities at the garden center include watering plants and potting annuals, perennials, shrubs and houseplants. She also organizes the showroom and assists customers. Her landscape management activities involve designing landscapes, picking out plants that work best for the design and consulting with customers to meet their needs.

Waylon Paulek repairs a fence while working at one of three different farms. He processes calves during the calving season and prepares cattle for the showring.

Waylon Paulek

District: 4

Chapter: Taylorville

Advisers: Sue Schafer, Megan Beckmier and Charley Dammerman

Parents: Craig and Katie Paulek

SAE Project: At Myers Show cattle farm, the daily tasks for Waylon Paulek include washing, blowing and halter breaking calves, as well as processing calves during calving season. For Four Corners Farms, Paulek is hired to wash, feed and fit show cattle at state and national shows across the nation. The Taylorville FFA member also works at Pistorius Farms where he started with equipment operation and fueling fuel trailers. His responsibilities have advanced to managing a three-man tillage crew, along with working ground and operating the grain cart.

Brady Heins works on his family farm with several family members and does a variety of tasks involved with raising crops including operating machinery.

Brady Heins

District: 5

Chapter: Trico

Adviser: Jason Huseman

Parents: Brad and Brandi Heins

SAE Project: Brady Heins is involved with his family farm and works together with his dad, two uncles, grandpa and brothers. The Star finalist does a variety of tasks on the farm related to the production and marketing of the crops from the operation.

Martha Blum

Martha Blum

Field Editor