2013 Star Farmer of Oklahoma- Tyler Schnaithman of Garber FFAThu, 02 May 2013 05:46:40 CDT
The Oklahoma FFA has selected Tyler Schnaithman of Garber as their 2013 Star Farmer- Tyler hearing his name called out during the Wednesday afternoon general session of the 87th annual convention of the Oklahoma FFA in Oklahoma City.
Garber FFA member Tyler Schnaithman began his custom hay bailing business with his brother at an early age, and has grown his operation to include a variety of other crops.
Schnaithman's entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to agriculture led to his selection as a recipient for one of Oklahoma FFA's highest honors: the 2013 State Star in Agricultural Production. His supervised agricultural experience project was rated the best agricultural production program among the 715 FFA members who received the State FFA Degree during the 87th State FFA Convention on May 1.
Schnaithman spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays about his SAE program and how he has worked to expand and diversify his operation. He started with seven acres of cropland and a flock of 10 ewes. He said the greatest obstacles he has faced are drought, land shortages and capitol. Learning to overcome these obstacles has allowed him to grow his operation. (You can listen to their full interview by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.)
"I've been trying to expand a farming operation in the midst of one of the worst droughts that the state has, maybe, ever seen. And, so, being able to try and expand at a fast pace and deal with that has been very difficult."
He said his FFA skills have helped his operation succeed.
"I've used livestock judging skills that the FFA has given me to kind of start out small and just grow over the years. I try to keep back, especially in my ewe operation, the top ten or 15 percent of the ewe lambs and just add those to my flock. The same way with my heifers. Typically, my heifers, I sell them on a yearly basis, but any time I can keep back livestock and add that to my program, that's a very easy way to expand.
"Today I currently own 50-bred heifers," Schnaithman said. "I also have alfalfa and am currently farming 925 acres of cropland, and I have a flock of 35 ewes."
Schnaithman said he feels the FFA has provided him with numerous skills he has used to grow his successful operation.
"First and foremost, my ability to public speak," Schnaithman said. "It has taught me a lot about time-management."
Throughout his FFA and SAE careers, Schnaithman utilized the expertise from his family and banker to help grow his operation. Along with maintaining his SAE, Schnaithman has also been involved in numerous other activities while at Garber High School, which has led him to gain skills in time-management.
The 18-year-old Garber FFA member is the son of Lee and Becky Schnaithman. His agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser is Dexter Matlock.
With the State Star honor, Schnaithman also 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.
It has proven to be a remarkable last seven days for Schnaithman, as he won three speech divisions this past Friday at the State Speech Contest held on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. He had to choose between his two prepared speeches- as he could only present one of them in the State Speech Finals at the FFA Convention on Tuesday. He choose his Plant and Soil Science speech- and with it he won the State Prepared Public Speech contest. That means he will now have to make anotehr choice- as he has won the right to represent Oklahoma in both the National Prepared Public Speaking contest as well as the National Extemperaneous Speech contest. He will only be able to compete in one of the two categories this coming October in Louisville at the 2013 National Convention- and he says he plans to make a decision on that in the next few weeks.
In addition, Tyler heard his name called out on Wednesday evening as he won the statewide race to become the 2013-2014 State Secretary of the Oklahoma FFA. And on Wednesday afternoon- he also heard his name called as a winner of a statewide Profiency Award.
FFA is an integral part of the Agricultural Education Division in Oklahoma's CareerTech system. With more than 24,000 members, the Oklahoma FFA Association is the fifth-largest state FFA association. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
Click on the PLAY button in the video box below to see a feature about Star Farmer Tyler Schnaithman.
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