Broken Bow students named reserve champions in their division at FFA national convention



INDIANAPOLIS — Nebraska Future Farmers of America (FFA) students proudly represented their state at the 94th FFA National Convention and Exhibition held in Indianapolis, Indiana last week. Two Broken Bow students received second place in the country for their electrical, structural and engineering systems project at the Agriscience Fair and Holdrege resident Grady Johnson was named the 2021 American Star Farmer.

Nine Broken Bow students and agriculture professor Caleb tenBensel recently returned from the convention, including Zackery Holloway and Lucas Bell. Holloway (grade 12) and Bell (grade 11) were named National Reserve Champions in their Agriscience Fair project in the Power, Structural and Technical Systems — Division 6 division.

(Left to right) Broken Bow Professor of Agriculture Caleb tenBensel with students Lucas Bell and Zackery Holloway who earned 2nd place for their Agriscience Fair project in Electrical, Structural and Engineering Systems: Division 6. Photo: Broken Bow FFA Facebook page.

KCNI / KBBN spoke to Nate and Lisa Bell, Lucas’s parents, who said the project their son and Zackery Holloway carried out essentially used affordable technology to check soil health. Nate Bell said the boys took affordable computer components and cameras, programmed them and attached them to a personal drone, and used it to fly over fields to check the health of crops and soil.

Holloway and Bell won first place at the FFA state convention last spring, which qualified them for the state convention.

“They were in the top three and finished second in the country on their project. We were just over the moon excited and very proud of him! Lisa Bell told KCNI / KBBN.

According to the Broken Bow FFA Facebook page, more than 50,000 FFA members from across the country gathered at the Indiana Convention Center last week “to network with leaders in all aspects of agriculture and education. “while attending the FFA National Exhibition, workshops, contests, interviews, a walking tour of Purdue University, keynote speakers, entertainment and other events. Convention attendees were greeted by the FFA National Officer Team and US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack during the 1st General Session at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Grady Johnson, from Holdrege, Neb., Was named America’s Featured Farmer at this year’s FFA National Convention. Click here for the history of the national FFA organization.

Bryce Doeschot of Rural Radio Network reports that the American Star Farmer is awarded to the FFA member who demonstrates the best supervised agricultural production (SAE) experience in the country.

The member must demonstrate exceptional achievement, active participation in the FFA and an exemplary academic record.

Johnson’s main SAE is baling corn stalks. He got his start as a freelance farmer raising sheep.

Johnson is following in his father’s footsteps for the organization’s highest honor. Grady’s father, Blake Johnson, was named an American Star Farmer in 1991.

Grady graduated in 2018 from Holdrege Public Schools and served as 2018-29 Nebraska FFA Secretary of State.

Grady Johnson of Holdrege FFA named American Star Farmer at 2021 FFA National Convention. Photo: Farm Radio Network.

Students from Gothenburg, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller (SEM) and St. Paul also placed in various competitions with Ethan Uhlir of St. Paul’s named a finalist for the Outdoor Recreation / Placement Entrepreneurship Awards. See below for more results from the Nebraska FFA as published by Rural Radio Network.

Results from FFA Nebraska students and chapters competing at the 2021 FFA National Convention.

November 1, 2021 | Rural radio network staff

Agroscience Fair
Pawnee City: Tyler Tegtmeier and Hayden Binder of Plant Systems-Division 2, 1st place
Broken Bow: Zackery Halloway and Lucas Bell of Electrical, Structural and Engineering Systems-Division 6, 2nd place

Competence Award
St. Paul Ethan Uhlir Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneurship / Gold Placement, Finalist

American Star Awards
Holdrege Grady Johnson American Star Farmer

Career development events and leadership development events (This list includes the results of teams and individuals in the top ten. More results can be found on

Alliance: Livestock Evaluation Gold, 7th Place Team
Aurora: Ellie Wanek Silver Professional Skills
Bruning-Davenport: Bronze Team of Agricultural Technology and Mechanics
Central Valley: Bronze Team in Veterinary Science
Chadron: Gold team in agricultural and agrifood management
David City: Floriculture Silver Team
Eustis-Farnam: Food Science Gold, 4th place by team
Eustis-Farnam: Natalie Malcom Food Science Gold, 6th individual place
Eustis-Farnam: Agronomie Or, 6th Team
Gothenburg: Helene Keizer prepared the individual speaker Silver
Imperial: parliamentary procedure Gold, 2nd place team
Imperial: Marketing Plan Silver Square Team
Norfolk: Dairy Cattle Evaluator. & Management Team Bronze
Norris: Nursery-Landscape Silver Team
Norris: Silver Horse Evaluation Team
Norris: Erin Oldermeyer Horse Evaluation Gold, 6th individual place
O’Neill: Agricultural Issues Forum Silver Team
Pender: Conducting Silver Team Section Meetings
Ravenna: Bronze Team for Poultry Assessment
Rock County: Farm Sales Silver Team
SEM: Spencer Walahoski Meat Science Gold, 7th individual place
St. Paul: Gold from environmental and natural resources, 7th place team
St. Paul: Sam Thede Environmental & Natural Resources Gold, 5th individual place
Sutherland Extemporaneous Speaking Silver Individual
Tri-County: Bronze Quality Milk and Products Team
West Holt: Ag Communications Silver Team
West Holt: Jordyn Laible Ag Communications Gold, 6th individual place
West Holt: Abigail Thiele Creed Speaking Bronze Individual

National Chapter Prize
3-star chapters
Lake view

2-star chapters
Blue Hill

American recipients of the FFA diploma
Nebraska – 140 beneficiaries


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