Blake Kirchhoff from Hardy, Nebraska, was selected as one of four students in the nation to be a finalist for the FFA American Star in Agribusiness award.
Kirchhoff, a member of the Superior FFA Chapter, operates a custom haying business that has grown rapidly.
“I started out just doing custom small square baling, and then I was contracted to sell some producers’ hay and small squares for them just to keep the hay moving so I had a consistent job every year,” said Kirchhoff.
Over the past few years, Kirchoff said his business has expanded quickly. He started out custom baling about 50 acres of land. Last year, he baled over 1,400 acres and made about 1,500 large round bales. This year, he said he’s on track to bale 1,500 to 1,600 acres of hay.
“I feel like I’ve grown so quickly because I have a really keen eye for detail and trying do things right every time,” he said. “I think that’s really what sets me apart is the attention to detail and the amount of growth I’ve managed to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time.”
In addition to custom baling small squares, he said he also does custom jobs for large round baling, swathing, and hay seeding.
Listen to Kirchhoff’s full story below.
Kirchhoff is a senior at Kansas State University, majoring in agronomy with a focus on precision agriculture.
The National FFA Organization selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2020 top achievement awards in four categories: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.
Although the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo will be held virtually this fall, a panel of judges will interview the finalists and select and announce one winner from each award category.
The finalists include:
American Star Farmer
- Cole Ketterling of Wishek, N.D.
- Nole Gerfen of Marion, Ohio
- JaLeigh Reneé Oldenburg of Mulhall, Okla.
- Mikara Anderson of Three Springs, Penn.
American Star in Agribusiness
- William Kellum of Jefferson, Ga.
- Ely Matthew Boulds of Eldorado, Ill.
- Hannah York of Fredonia, Ky.
- Blake Kirchhoff of Hardy, Neb.
American Star in Agriscience
- Lauren Roberts of Trenton, Fla.
- Maddie Sue Fugate of Mahomet, Ill.
- Nicole Stevens of Yukon, Okla.
- Jacob Bagby of Stephenville, Texas
American Star in Agricultural Placement
- Ryan Adelbert Stewart of Washington, Kan.
- Will Shelby of Madill, Okla.
- Cole James Schock of Salem, S.D.
- Wilson Nugent of Gilmer, Texas