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Youth News

Zach Weichel is Named Star Farmer of America at 2014 National FFA Convention

Sat, 01 Nov 2014 09:30:54 CDT

Zach Weichel is Named Star Farmer of America at 2014 National FFA Convention The granddaddy of all of the dozens of awards that are handed out by the National FFA organization is the Star Farmer of America. It was first presented in 1929, just one year after the founding of the organization. Stretching back to the days when the organization was the Future Farmers of America, the announcement of who the Star Farmer was, as selected by the youth organization, was truly a big deal. Farm Magazines would feature the Star Farmer on the front cover of their magazines. They were held up as the model of what the future of farming looked like. Today, there are four "Stars" honored by the National FFA Organization- but the Star Farmer is still the "special" one.

With that said- the Star Farmer award is coming back to Oklahoma once again, as the 2014 Star Farmer of America is Zach Weichel, a graduate of Cordell High School, a Senior at Oklahoma State University and a Cordell FFA Chapter member.

When Weichel was eight years old, he received a bottle calf from his grandfather. From the experience and others on his family's farm, he knew he wanted to start his own cattle enterprise. This FFA member raises more than 300 beef stocker cattle that will be transported to feedlots. He also grows wheat on 30 acres for production.

Weichel was competing for the honor of having the top farm program in America this year against three northern states FFA members- two with Dairy operations and one large diversified farm operation in North Dakota. What may have set Weichel apart was the fact that he bought land as a teenager and built his own operation from there. He told Farm Director Ron Hays that he was told in a mock interview session the week before the national convention to be ready to explain the "wheat pasture" concept to judges from other parts of the US- who would not be familiar with that system. Weichel says that proved to be good advice as he did have to explain the concept of planting wheat earlier than you would for just grain production- running cattle on that pasture late fall and into the winter and then pulling the cattle at first hollow stem. The practical knowledge of his stocker operation impressed the judges and helped secure the Star Farmer title for this Washita County farmer.

Zach's brother Jeremy Weichel was a finalist for the Star Farmer award at the 2012 National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis. Zach, a year earlier, had won the Oklahoma Star Farmer Award the year he was graduating from Cordell High School- we featured Zach in a story that included video and audio which you can look back on by clicking here.

Weichel, 21, is a member of the Cordell FFA Chapter in New Cordell, Okla., led by advisor Brian Dowdie. He is the son of Keith and Lana Weichel.

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.


Ron Hays talks with Zach Weichel after being named Star Farmer of America for 2014
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