Kent D. Duerksen, member of the Goessel FFA Chapter, competed as a national finalist in the Specialty Animal Production-Entrepreneurship/Placement Proficiency award program at the 83rd National FFA Conven?tion, Oct. 20-23, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Proficiency awards recognize FFA members who excelled as agricultural entrepreneurs, employees or volunteers while they gained hands-on career experience.
Specialty Animal Production Entrepre?neur?ship/Place?ment is one of 47 FFA proficiency award categories offered at local, state and national levels. The award program in this area is sponsored by Land O?Lakes Purina Feed and National FFA Founda?tion, as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
In recognition of being a finalist, each of the four finalists will receive a plaque and $500. The national winner received an additional $500 during a special ceremony at the national FFA convention.
In addition to the $500 award as a finalist, Duerksen was rewarded with a sponsored 10-day seminar in Costa Rica with 40 other proficiency award finalists nationwide.
Costa Rica is the most bio-diverse country in the world, being nested between two coast lines and mountain systems.
?This biodiversity will allow Kent and other participants to see some things atypical to our climate, including pineapple and coffee production while experiencing the rainforest ecosystem,? said Goessel FFA adviser John Bergin.
Growing up, Duerksen thought he might want to raise beef cattle like his father. But once he learned about goats, he was hooked.
Since joining FFA, he has kidded 165 meat and dairy goats and, after buying a Boer buck, began breeding his own goats.
From his herd, 14 champion goats have been bred and he has sold 75 of his animals to peers in FFA and 4-H.
?My supervised agricultural experience has provided me with several opportunities,? Duerksen said.
?Not only have I learned about the livestock industry, but I learned about writing formal applications and interview skills through the proficiency award program.
?I would recommend this program to every high school student in agriculture education.?
Duerksen will be pursuing another proficiency award this year in agricultural mechanics repair and maintenance.
He is the son of Lynette and Marlo Duerksen.