Cody Jackson Walker has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious “American Star in Agricultural Placement” award by the National FFA organization.
“It feels pretty good to be a finalist,” said Walker. “I was excited about it. It’s a real honor. I won $2,000 and I get to go to Costa Rica next summer. My parents were very active in FFA, so they are really excited about this.”
Walker is a 2009 graduate of Warren County High School and member of its Future Farmers of America chapter. By contest regulations, he had four years after graduation to apply for the award. His parents own Walker Nursery.
National FFA selected 16 finalists in all (four per award) for the organization’s top honors: American Star in Agricultural Placement, American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, and American Star in Agriscience.
Star awards recognize students who have developed outstanding agricultural skill and competency through their career development programs, demonstrated outstanding management skills, earned the American FFA Degree — the organization’s highest level of accomplishment — and met other agricultural education, scholarship and leadership requirements.
In the award category with Walker are Kurt Parsons from California, Justin Cochran from Georgia, and Matthew Marcellus from Nebraska.
Rounding out the other awards and finalists in each are:
• Star Farmer: Clayton N. Carley of Illinois, Andrew Kenneth Edson of Iowa, Alexander L. Richardson of Kentucky, and Jeremy Weichel of Oklahoma.
• Star in Agribusiness: Bradley Robert Weaver of Georgia, Zachary Cotton of Kentucky, Austin Crissman of Texas, and Jacob Paul of Wisconsin.
• Star in Agriscience: Kaylyn Stout of Georgia, Kayleigh Warner of Indiana, Rachael Claire Arkfeld of Nebraska, Taylor Runyan of Oklahoma.
Each star finalist receives $2,000 from the National FFA Foundation and earns the opportunity to participate in an international experience tour to Costa Rica. A panel of judges will interview the finalists and select one winner for each award at the 85th National FFA Convention, Oct. 24-27, in Indianapolis. Winners will receive an additional $2,000 award.
Walker would like to thank Russell Watson, who was the agriculture teacher at WCHS for 44 years until his retirement last year.
“Mr. Watson helped me fill out my application,” said Walker. “I really appreciate all he has done for FFA in Warren County. He’s definitely helped me in all of this.”
According to Watson, Walker is only the ninth individual from Warren County’s FFA chapter to be selected as a finalist for a star award. Warren County has the most finalists of any FFA chapter in the nation, and Warren County is the only FFA chapter to have had a finalist in each of the four star categories.
“We have had two national winners and Cody has a really good chance of making it three,” said Watson.
“Stars Over America,” a special audiovisual presentation featuring the star award winners, is produced by Alltech, Inc. as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. Walker will be interviewed today for the video.