South Dakota FFA boasts three "Stars Over America" finalists |

South Dakota FFA boasts three "Stars Over America" finalists

PIERRE, SD – Three South Dakota FFA members have qualified for the National FFA Organization’s highest honor. Dustin Palmquist, Steven Zemlicka and Kyle Zulk are finalists in the Stars Over America program, which recognizes students who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competency through their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs.

National Stars Over America finalists are selected on the basis of the quality of their applications for the American FFA Degree. Each state association recommends one candidate for each of the four award areas, which include the American Star Farmer, the American Star in Agribusiness, the American Star in Agricultural Placement and the American Star in Agriscience. Each award area has four finalists.

Palmquist, the son of Mark and Deb Palmquist of Canova, is a finalist for American Star in Agribusiness. He was a member of the McCook Central FFA Chapter and his SAE project featured a custom silage cutting operation.

Zemlicka, the son of Dwight and Patty Zemlicka of Watertown, is a finalist for American Star in Agriscience. A former member of the Florence FFA Chapter, his SAE consisted of four different research projects, three of which involved food science and ag processing.

Zulk, the son of Ken Zulk of Canova and Kathy Zulk of Howard, was also a member of the McCook Central FFA Chapter and is a finalist for the American Star in Agricultural Placement. His SAE involved working on diversified crop and livestock farms as well as in the agronomy division of the Central Farmers Cooperative in McCook County.

“Only 16 FFA members from across the country qualify as Star Finalists, which makes the competition extremely tough,” said Jon Farris, South Dakota’s Acting Secretary of Agriculture. “To have three members from South Dakota reach this level bodes well for the future of agriculture in our state.”

Each Star finalist receives $2,000 from the National FFA Organization. One winner in each category will be selected at the 83rd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, this October. Winners will receive an additional $2,000 award.

American FFA Degree recognition programs like the Stars Over America awards are co-sponsored by Case IH of Racine, WI; Farm Credit of Washington, DC; Pioneer Hi-Bred of Des Moines, IA; and Syngenta of Greensboro, NC, as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

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