Jason Wiethorn, 19, of Crawford, has continued a family tradition by winning an American FFA Degree, a prestigious award bestowed by the National FFA Organization.
To be eligible, FFA students must have achieved academic and professional excellence and show a desire to develop their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success in agriculture, according to a press release. This year, 4,071 American Degrees were awarded at the 90th annual FFA convention and expo in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“This recognizes the top 1 percent of FAA students nationwide, and Jason certainly fits that description,” said Art Hunter, agriculture teacher and FAA adviser for the Crawford Independent School District, speaking by phone.
Hunter said Wiethorn has raised beef heifers and market goats, and planted milo and wheat on the family farm near Crawford for several years.
His brother, Matthew, received the same award in 2015, and their father, Mark, secured the honor, then known as the American Farmer award, in 1982, Hunter said.
Jason and Matthew now attend Texas A&M University, where they are pursuing agriculture degrees, according to the press release.
“Jason is a very hard worker, active in sports and a good student,” Hunter said. “This is kind of like becoming an Eagle Scout. There is no monetary award, but the recognition is something to put at the top of a resume.”
Information provided by the FAA says honorees must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a “supervised agricultural experience program in which they start, own or hold a professional position in an existing agricultural enterprise.”
Recipients must also complete 50 hours of community service and “demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement,” according to the press release from FAA headquarters.
The National FFA Organization provides training to 653,000 students who belong to 78,568 local FFA chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization receives support from almost 226,000 former members in about 2,000 alumni chapters.