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The top finishers will compete at the National FFA Convention in October.

Ethan Giebel

June 19, 2019

3 Min Read
Members on stage at Wisconsin FFA Convention
STARS: Collin Wille (center) was named 2019 Star Farmer at the Wisconsin FFA Convention. Also pictured are Vice President Jillian Tyler (left); President Amelia Hayden; Star Farmer finalists Kevin Kitchen, Hailey Hendrickson, Wille, Brooke Welke and Jacquelyn Rosenbush; Parliamentarian Emily Kruse; and Vice President Sarah Calaway.

The Stars Over Wisconsin awards recognize FFA members who are receiving their State FFA Degree and have conducted exemplary Supervised Agricultural Experience programs. Many students apply for the honor, but only the top 10 individuals are recognized in each area.

This year, first-place recipients were selected in the areas of Star Farmer, Star in Agricultural Placement and Star in Agribusiness. There was no Star in Agri-Science this year. These state winners will compete at the National FFA Convention, Oct.30-Nov. 2 in Indianapolis.

Star Farmer

Collin Wille of the Rice Lake FFA chapter was named Wisconsin’s 2019 Star Farmer. His FFA advisor is Keith Kolpack and his parents are Jeffrey and Debra Wille. The Star Farmer award goes to a student who owns and operates an enterprise in production agriculture.

Wille’s program is based on his family’s dairy farm, where he has headquartered a growing herd of his own. Involvement in all aspects of the dairy operation has contributed to a deep knowledge and understanding of dairying. Several years back, Wille bought his first Red and White Holstein, and he has continued to keep heifers and grow his own herd since that time. Wille would like to continue modernizing the farm with the addition of a freestall barn.

He attends Northeast Iowa Community College in the dairy science program and plans to return home to become the fourth generation to run his family’s farm.

Star in Ag Placement

Jeremy Schlies of the Denmark FFA chapter is the 2019 Wisconsin Star in Agricultural Placement. This award is given to students who work for a business in agriculture. Schlies’ advisors are Mary Handrich and Martin Nowak, and his parents are Dave Schlies and Julie Schultz.

His passion for the dairy industry started young, and at the age of 12, he received his first registered Holstein calf. Today, he is involved in nearly every aspect of the 100-cow dairy farm.

Schlies is a team leader who is the main milker and in charge of setting schedules, training and guiding employees on the farm. He plans to attend University of Wisconsin-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course to earn a certificate in dairy farm management. Upon completion, he intends to return to his family’s farm.

Star in AgriBusiness

Zachary Wiegel from the Shullsburg FFA chapter is the 2019 Wisconsin Star in Agribusiness. The Star in Agribusiness is awarded to a student who has developed an outstanding agricultural business enterprise of his or her own. Wiegel’s FFA advisor is Jennifer Russell, and his parents are Rodger and Michelle Wiegel.

An appreciation of lawn care began early on for Wiegel when his father taught him how to mow lawns at the age of 12.

After mastering his own family’s lawn, Wiegel began offering his services to others, and his business took off. The business has grown from only mowing lawns to doing all types of yard maintenance services. He has invested in additional equipment, including a Club Car Carryall that he uses to move his equipment around town to the 22 customers he now serves.

In addition to running his own small business, Wiegel worked for Green Escapes Lawn Care LLC. He has saved his earnings to help pay for college. This fall he will attend UW-Madison, where he plans to major in ag business.

Giebel writes from Baraboo, Wis.

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