LARWILL, Ind. (WFFT) — Brent Studebaker’s work on his parent’s farm has put him in the top tier of a statewide ag competition.
"It would be a great honor for me just coming from a family farm and it being about the farm," Studebaker said.
Studebaker has paired his time at the Whitko Career Academy with his experience on his family farm to master organization, finances and daily physical tasks in the world of agriculture.
"There’s just a lot of things that most kids don’t get the opportunity to do, and I’m very blessed to have those opportunities and have great family to push me to do better and push me to learn new things," Studebaker said.
Indiana Future Farmers of America named Studebaker one of four finalists for their State Star Award in Agriculture.
And Studebaker isn’t the only Whitko Ag student spreading his roots.
"We took 26 kids to our district contest this year, which I don’t think we’ve taken that many kids in a really really long time," said Whitko student Hailey Arnold. "And we had six first-placing contests, so they’ll be moving on to the state convention which is also where brent’s star will be announced."
Arnold is on the Officer Team at Whitko.
She says the Ag program’s growth has been sparked by recent facility upgrades and new hires.
"For all of us to adjust, it was a really big thing, and it took a lot," Arnold said. "I think we finally got comfortable and settled in this last semester, and that’s when we really started progressing and doing a lot of things."
And she expects the momentum to continue for years to come.
"The next generation that’s coming in after I’m done is so passionate and so ready to jump in and do anything that they can," Arnold said. "And I think that says a lot about us as a school just because of the determination of our kids."
In the more immediate future, Studebaker will learn the final results of the State Star Award in June. Then he’s off to Purdue in the fall, where he’s considering starting his own business.
"I think I’ll be quite busy, but those are the things I want to do, so I think it will work out for me," Studebaker said.
One Whitko team already won a state competition earlier in the year, and several more hope to win in June.
That will be the end of the line though, as FFA has already canceled its national competition.