The Stars Over Wisconsin awards recognize FFA members who are receiving their State FFA Degree and have conducted exemplary Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs. Many students apply for the honor, but only the top 10 individuals are recognized in each area. Individuals are selected as the first-place recipients in the areas of Star Farmer, Star in Agricultural Placement, Star in Agribusiness and Star in Agriscience.
Colin Wussow of the Bonduel FFA Chapter was named Wisconsin’s 2018 Star Farmer. The Star Farmer award goes to a student who owns and operates an enterprise in production agriculture. Wussow’s program is based on his family’s dairy farm, where he owns registered Jersey cattle and a registered Red and White Holstein cow.
During his FFA career, Wussow was awarded an SAE grant and used the funds to purchase a Jersey cow with high genomic value. This move added production and component values to his herd. He analyzes pedigrees for producing the best quality herd, and makes culling and consigning decisions. His work on the farm includes every aspect of cattle care, in addition to milking and cleaning.
Wussow’s FFA advisor is David Battenberg. He is the son of Ron and Nicolle Wussow.
Star in Ag Placement
Shad Goplin of the Whitehall FFA Chapter was recognized as the 2018 Wisconsin Star in Agricultural Placement. The award is given to students who work for a business in agriculture. Goplin is an employee of Goplin Farms, which includes a 48-sow farrow-to-finish operation and a 15,000-layer hen barn.
Over the past nine years working on the family farm, Goplin’s duties have expanded beyond simple tasks and now include his involvement with every aspect of the operation. In the swine enterprise, he assists with the breeding and farrowing of sows, processes feeder pigs, and monitors animal health. When it comes to working with the laying flock, Goplin collects eggs, sets feeders and runs the barn controls. Biosecurity protocols and a computer system ensure the operation runs smoothly.
Goplin’s FFA advisor is Melinda Goplin. His parents are Darcy and Jamie Goplin.
Star in Agribusiness
Logan Paul of the Randolph Cambria-Friesland FFA Chapter is the 2018 Wisconsin Star in Ag Business. Students who have taken on the role of owning and operating a business are eligible to receive this honor.
During a visit to the Lincoln Welding booth at the National FFA Convention as a young FFA member, Paul created a small project. That experience and some encouragement from his FFA advisor were the inspiration to start Logan’s Metal Art.
Paul has grown his business over time, and now rents space and purchases metal from his father. Keeping accurate records has been a key factor in his success. Developing a website and creating distribution through retailers are the next steps in marketing and scaling his business.
Paul’s advisor in Keith Gundach, and his parents are Tina and Richard Paul.
Star in Agriscience
Danielle Wrzesinski of the Big Foot FFA Chapter is the 2018 Wisconsin Star in Agriscience. Students who are eligible for this award develop their own science experiments, conduct research, and evaluate results using scientific data and technology. A class project on ethanol created much interest for Wrzesinski, inspiring her to start an agriscience research project.
Her research posed the question of what could be used as a substitute for corn to make ethanol that would require less energy, land or maintenance. Switchgrass was the material that Wrzenski hypothesized to be this alternative. After finding a better way to break down the cell walls of the plant material and remove sugars, she was able to replicate the experiment. This led to her competition in the National FFA Agriscience Fair and other research projects. She hopes that one day her skills will be used as a biological systems engineer.
Wrzesinski’s advisors are Lisa Konkel and Jeanne Case. She is the daughter of Sharon and Todd Wrzesinski.
Giebel writes from Baraboo, Wis.