Broken Bow Students Named Reserve Champion in their Division at FFA National Convention

Broken Bow Students Named Reserve Champion in their Division at FFA National Convention
Broken Bow FFA members attended the National FFA Convention last week in Indianapolis. (L-R) Kenna McCaslin, Emma Pearson, Khloe Keezer, Lucas Bell, Savanah Peterson, Zackery Holloway, Alex Berghorst, Keelyn Shea, Abigail Wiiest, and ag teacher Caleb tenBensel Photo: Broken Bow FFA Facebook page.

INDIANAPOLIS—Nebraska Future Farmers of America (FFA) students proudly represented their state at the 94th National FFA Convention and Expo held in Indianapolis, Indiana last week. Two Broken Bow students received second place in the nation for their Power, Structural, and Technical Systems project as part of the Agriscience Fair and Holdrege resident Grady Johnson was named the 2021 American Star Farmer.

Nine Broken Bow students and Agriculture Teacher Caleb tenBensel recently returned from the convention, among them Zackery Holloway and Lucas Bell. Holloway (12th grade) and Bell (11th grade) were named the National Reserve Champion in their Agriscience Fair project in the Power, Structural, and Technical Systems division—Division 6.

(L-R) Broken Bow ag teacher Caleb tenBensel with students Lucas Bell and Zackery Holloway who earned 2nd place for their Agriscience Fair Project in the area of Power, Structural, and Technical Systems: Division 6. Photo: Broken Bow FFA Facebook page.

KCNI/KBBN spoke with Nate and Lisa Bell, parents of Lucas, who said the project completed by their son and Zackery Holloway essentially used affordable technology to check soil health. Nate Bell said the boys took affordable computer components and cameras, programmed and attached them to a personal drone, and used it to fly over fields to check crop and soil health.

Holloway and Bell earned first place at the state FFA convention last spring which qualified them for the state convention.

“They were in the top three and ended up getting second in the nation on their project. We were just over the moon excited and very proud of him!” Lisa Bell told KCNI/KBBN.

According to the Broken Bow FFA Facebook page, more than 50,000 FFA members from across the nation gathered at the Indiana Convention Center last week “to network with leaders in all aspects of agriculture and education” while attending the National FFA Expo, workshops, contests, interviews, a walking tour of Purdue University, keynote speakers, entertainment, and other events. Convention attendees were welcomed by the National FFA Officer Team and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack during the 1st General Session at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Holdrege, Neb. native Grady Johnson was named the American Star Farmer at this year’s National FFA Convention. Click here for the National FFA Organization story.

Bryce Doeschot of Rural Radio Network reports that the American Star Farmer is awarded to the FFA member that demonstrates the top production agriculture Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) in the nation.

The member must demonstrate outstanding achievement, active FFA participation and an exemplary scholastic record.

Johnson’s primary SAE is baling corn stalks. He got his start as an independent farmer by raising sheep.

Johnson follows in the footsteps of his father for the top honor by the organization. Grady’s father, Blake Johnson, was named American Star Farmer in 1991.

Grady is a 2018 graduate from Holdrege Public Schools, and he served as the 2018-29 Nebraska FFA state secretary.

Holdrege FFA’s Grady Johnson named American Star Farmer at 2021 National FFA Convention. Photo: Rural Radio Network.

Students from Gothenburg, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller (SEM), and St. Paul also placed in various contests with St. Paul’s Ethan Uhlir named as a finalist for Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneurship/Placement Proficiency Awards. See below for more Nebraska FFA results as posted by Rural Radio Network.

Results from Nebraska FFA students and chapters competing at the 2021 National FFA Convention.

November 1st, 2021 | Rural Radio Network Staff

Agriscience Fair
Pawnee City: Tyler Tegtmeier and Hayden Binder of the Plant Systems-Division 2, 1st Place
Broken Bow: Zackery Halloway and Lucas Bell of the Power, Structural, and Technical Systems-Division 6, 2nd Place

Proficiency Awards
St. Paul Ethan Uhlir Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneurship/Placement Gold, Finalist

American Star Awards
Holdrege Grady Johnson American Star Farmer

Career Development Events and Leadership Development Events (This list includes team results and individuals in the top ten. More results can be found on

Alliance: Livestock Evaluation Gold, 7th Place Team
Aurora: Ellie Wanek Employment Skills Silver
Bruning-Davenport: Ag Technology & Mechanics Bronze Team
Central Valley: Veterinary Science Bronze Team
Chadron: Farm & Agribusiness Management Gold Team
David City: Floriculture Silver Team
Eustis-Farnam: Food Science Gold, 4th Place Team
Eustis-Farnam: Natalie Malcom Food Science Gold, 6th Place Individual
Eustis-Farnam: Agronomy Gold, 6th Place Team
Gothenburg: Helene Keiser Prepared Public Speaking Silver Individual
Imperial: Parliamentary Procedure Gold, 2nd Place Team
Imperial: Marketing Plan Silver Place Team
Norfolk: Dairy Cattle Eval. & Management Bronze Team
Norris: Nursery-Landscape Silver Team
Norris: Horse Evaluation Silver Team
Norris: Erin Oldermeyer Horse Evaluation Gold, 6th Place Individual
O’Neill: Ag Issues Forum Silver Team
Pender: Conduct of Chapter Meetings Silver Team
Ravenna: Poultry Evaluation Bronze Team
Rock County: Ag Sales Silver Team
SEM: Spencer Walahoski Meat Science Gold, 7th Place Individual
St. Paul: Environmental & Natural Resources Gold, 7th Place Team
St. Paul: Sam Thede Environmental & Natural Resources Gold, 5th Place Individual
Sutherland Extemporaneous Speaking Silver Individual
Tri-County: Milk Quality and Products Bronze Team
West Holt: Ag Communications Silver Team
West Holt: Jordyn Laible Ag Communications Gold, 6th Place Individual
West Holt: Abigail Thiele Creed Speaking Bronze Individual

National Chapter Awards
3-Star Chapters

2-Star Chapters
Blue Hill

American FFA Degree Recipients
Nebraska – 140 Recipients