For Colin Wegner, family is the big motivator behind his career in agriculture. In high school, his FFA advisor told him to take advantage of the opportunity to be involved on the family farm and so the native of Wells, Minn., did.
Colin’s placement supervised agricultural experience (SAE) throughout high school and college involved working on his family’s farm, Wegner Farms. The operation involves corn, soy and hay production and seed sales. He started in ninth grade, completing smaller tasks on the farm before moving up to operating equipment as he learned to drive.
Now as a graduate of South Dakota State University, he works full-time with Wegner Farms and is active in making decisions for the business.
“I'm the fifth generation to work on my family's farm, and I've learned so many great tools and skills and life lessons and built character through working with my family members and seeing how they do things and learning from them,” Colin said. “I really cultivated a passion for agriculture.”
Colin’s FFA and college experiences helped him “see the big picture in agriculture as a whole.” Through FFA, Colin participated in the agribusiness and soil judging career and leadership development events (CDE) and learned record keeping skills. In college, a summer internship with a private agronomist taught Colin crop scouting.
“I always knew I wanted to be involved in agriculture, and then being able to see all the different opportunities to me really kind of let me know the path—OK, I have a good opportunity to come back to my family's farm,” he said. “I realized that all these people are in FFA, and not all of them come from farming backgrounds, but they all have a passion for agriculture.”
Looking forward, Colin said a goal for his family’s operation is to average 300 bushels of corn per acre within ten years.
He is the son of Shannon and Eric Wegner. His FFA advisor is Dan Dylla.
About the American Star Awards
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members were honored with American Star Awards for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education.
The American Star Awards, including American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are presented to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of an SAE. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing, by either owning or operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.
Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.
Sixteen American Star Award finalists from throughout the U.S. were nominated by a panel of judges who then interviewed the finalists during the national convention and expo. Four were named winners and received cash awards totaling $4,000. All American Star finalists received a $2,000 cash award. Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta sponsor the awards.
Judging occurred in Indianapolis during the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 24-27, with the winners announced during an onstage ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 25.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 344,239 alumni members in 2,051 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.
Information provided by National FFA.