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Andrew Streff is the 2019 Star in Agricultural Placement, as named by the National FFA Organization. (FFA photo)

SD resident named 2019 Star in Agricultural Placement

INDIANAPOLIS – For Andrew Streff, an interest in agriculture is all in the family.

“Growing up, my brothers and I had this sandbox out back of our house. We'd go outside — supposed to be playing in the sandbox — and then go running off to the shed to hang out with Dad to work on equipment,” Streff said. “So, the passion has been there, right from the beginning.”

Streff, who hails from the McCook Central FFA Chapter in Salem, S.D., started his supervised agricultural experience on the family farm, tending to 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans with his father. The National FFA Organization has named him the 2019 Star in Agricultural Placement.

“I was driving a tractor on my own since I was 10 years old, and that really transitioned well into my FFA career once I got into that during high school,” he said.

He added on to his SAE by completing two internships. His first internship was in 2017 with the Central Farmers Cooperative as a crop scout intern. In that role, Streff surveyed thousands of acres of crops and reported their status to local farmers. Then, he crossed state lines to work as an agriculture technology specialist intern at Winfield United in Ohio, running test plot trials and helping crop producers troubleshoot issues.

Streff said a person can never know too much about agriculture, and continuing to get an education is key.

“Every day is a learning experience, and FFA really emphasized that you can take advantage of a learning experience in a work environment,” he said. “You don't have to sit in a classroom to learn.”

Though he’ll look for opportunities to work in the agricultural business sector after graduating from South Dakota State University in spring 2020, Streff hopes the family ties to farming will live on with the help of new knowledge from his placement experiences.

“Eventually, a long-term goal is to take over the family farm and continue running that operation and growing it so that I can hopefully pass it down one day to my children,” he said.

About the American Star Awards

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are 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 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, with the winners announced during an onstage ceremony on Friday, Nov. 1.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.