Zach Weichel of Cordell FFA Named Oklahoma FFA Star in Ag ProductionWed, 04 May 2011 6:28:42 CDT
Farming and ranching are in Cordell FFA member Zach Weichel's blood, and he said he has always known he wanted to be a cattleman.
Since the summer his grandfather gave him his first bottle-fed calf, the 18-year-old high school senior has come a long way toward his goal, having purchased 200 acres of land and owning more than 1,000 head of cattle.
Weichel's entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to agriculture have earned him one of Oklahoma FFA's highest honors: the 2011 State Star in Agricultural Production. His Supervised Agricultural Experience program was rated the best agricultural production program among the 702 FFA members who received the State FFA Degree during the 85th State FFA Convention on May 3.
Click on the play button in the video window to see the video presentation produced by Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Network about Josh and his Agribusiness enterprise. This presentation was seen by those in attendance at the Tuesday evening Stars Over Oklahoma pageant during the 2011 State FFA Convention.
With the honor, Weichel received the Governor's Trophy as well as a $2,000 cash award sponsored by Davis Farms of Guthrie, Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma and Sirloin Club of Oklahoma.
Through his SAE program, Weichel plants wheat and raises stocker steers on his 200 acres and on 300 acres of rented land. Last year, his operation included 421 head of cattle and 30 acres of planted wheat. Both his father and grandfather raise cattle, and Weichel said their experiences have taught him to take risks, manage his finances, and nurture his land and his animals.
"My earliest memories are of riding in the pickup feeding cattle and out in the wheat fields driving the tractor with my dad," Weichel said. "There has never been any doubt I would be a cattleman. I enjoy the challenges that begin the day new cattle arrive on the ranch and continue until the day they are ready for shipment. The satisfaction I get from meeting these challenges is why I want a career in the cattle industry."
Throughout his FFA career, Weichel has researched and implemented the newest methods for increasing his profits, enriching his land, and improving the health and nutrition of his cattle. Despite the vast amount of time Weichel has spent on his ranch, he has maintained a 4.0 grade point average, participated in varsity sports, and taken college courses.
"I have had the opportunity to instruct Zach Weichel in the agricultural education program for the past four and a half years," said Brian Dowdle, Weichel's agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor. "During this time, Zach has developed strong leadership skills and has worked diligently to develop a program that would allow him to receive recognition on both the state and national levels. Production agriculture has been a big part of Zach's life thus far, and I believe it will continue to be in the future."
The Cordell FFA member is the son of Keith and Lana Weichel. After graduation, Zach Weichel plans to attend Oklahoma State University and major in animal science with a pre-veterinary option; he also intends to continue building his farming and ranching operation in western Oklahoma.
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