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Youth News

Cordell FFA Member Zach Weichel In The Hunt For 2014 Star Farmer

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:39:40 CDT

Cordell FFA Member Zach Weichel In The Hunt For 2014 Star Farmer
It's never too early to get your start in agriculture. At the age of 10, Zach Weichel got his first bottle calf as a gift from his grandfather and that's all it took to get him interested in agriculture.

"I knew then that I wanted to keep going with production agriculture," Weichel said. "I grew from there and started with running a few stockers and got into some wheat pasture and every since then I have been running cattle on improved grasses and wheat pasture depending on the time of year. Been trying to expand my operation every since then with land purchases and also renting land."

Today Weichel own 360 acres, rents 160 acres of grass and 320 acres of wheat pasture. Each fall he buys stocker calves weighing about 500 pounds to put on grass and wheat pasture, then will sell them as yearlings.

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Weichel about his FFA experience. You can hear that conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

His Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project through the Cordell FFA chapter has also seen plenty of challenges. Since Weichel started his stocker operation a lot has changed especially with new technology and animal health products to keep his calves healthy.   The severe drought that has hung over Oklahoma and the southern plains the last four years has been especially challenging. Weichel said this has pushed him to adapt by changing how he has marketed his cattle.

"I used to go with straight forward contracts," Weichel said. "Since the drought I have switched to more hedging and I have had to rely on my risk management program with crop insurance and also different marketing strategies for my cattle."

Four years ago he received the Star Farmer award for Oklahoma. Weichel is now in his senior year of college at Oklahoma State University. Throughout college he has continued to keep track of his production records. Even with balancing college and raising cattle and wheat, he has maintained his SAE project through the advice of his brother.   

"He was one who said this is a good opportunity, you need to go for it, don't give up," Weichel said.

Weichel will represent Oklahoma as one of four finalists for the American Star Farmer award at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The announcement of the "Stars" will be made Saturday, November 1st.

The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. Recognized are FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs; earned an American FFA Degree, the highest level of achievement the organization bestows upon a member; and met agricultural education, leadership and scholarship requirements.

For a full list of Oklahoma FFA members representing the state in the 87th National FFA Convention, Click Here .

Coverage of the 2014 National FFA Convention and Expo can be seen and heard on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network, OklahomaFarmReport.Com, our Daily Farm and Ranch News Email, Twitter via our Ron_on_RON feed, Facebook , FLICKR and on our Oklahoma Farm Report App- available for Apple and Andrioid Devices.

Our exclusive coverage from Louisville is a service of the Oklahoma FFA Association, the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association and your Oklahoma Ford Dealers. For more information about this youth organization, click here. FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.


Ron Hays talks with Zach Weiche ahead of the 2014 National FFA Convention to be held in Louisville
right-click to download mp3


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