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Mattern a Star Among FFA Members

Image courtesy of the Putnam County Record
Jon Mattern has done something that hasn’t been done at Putnam County High School for a while.

On Feb. 13 at a Future Farmers of America event in Princeville, Mattern qualified for a chance to receive the state’s FFA Star Award in agricultural placement. What exactly does that mean?

“When you talk about Star Award, you’re talking about the best of the best. Judges look at all of the record books of the applicants. Jon had two which makes him unique in this placement,” PCHS ag science teacher John Heiser said. “He had a thousand plus hours of work; he had the most hours of anybody going for Star placement in our section.”

In order to apply for the Star Award, an FFA member has to complete a minimum of 250 hours of work in an agricultural business, invest $1,500 in a record book of the experience and keep recording in the book for a minimum of two years, attend two years of ag classes, compete in five FFA events above the chapter level and perform 25 hours of community service.

Mattern kept two record books, one from his work in the family’s swine operation and another from his job at the Boyle Christmas Tree farm. What’s in the books?

“You have to show records of where you worked and what you did each day,” Mattern said. “You have to compile your records at the end of the year and show how many hours you worked, how much money you made while working and write a narrative explaining what your duties were.”

There were 22 FFA members competing at the Princeville competition for Star Awards. Four were competing for the Star Farmer Award, with the rest competing in the Ag placement division (The two other divisions in the Star Program are in agri-business and ag science.).

“Less than 2 percent of all FFA members will receive a Star state degree. Ag businesses look for that on a resume,” Heiser said. “You have to keep track of your assets and liabilities. You have to write a narrative, so English and math are both important skills. Jon interviews well, which is very important.”

Mattern is one of 84 FFA students in the Putnam County FFA chapter. He hopes to continue into agricultural engineer but admits he may come back someday to take control of the family operation. Mattern is the latest of several generations of farmers in the family, but more than likely not the last.

Source: Putnam County Record