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Dustin Stanton was named the 2014 American Star in Agribusiness Saturday during the eighth general session of the National FFA Convention & Expo.

Stanton, 21, is a member of the Centralia FFA Chapter in Centralia, Mo. His advisors are Scott Stone, Lori Lewis and Jessica Cummins. He is the son of Andrew and Judy Stanton.

What started as a gift of six chicks from his uncle turned into Stanton’s own enterprise. As co-owner of Stanton Brothers, he manages more than 20,000 laying hens and gardens totaling 4,300 square feet.

The Missourian supplies neighbors, local businesses, nursing homes, university dining halls and farmers markets with fresh eggs, radishes and tomatoes.

A student at the University of Missouri studying agribusiness management, he wants to return to his family’s farm while expanding his own enterprise. He received the 2011 National FFA Agricultural Proficiency in agricultural sales.

“I have always dreamed of being able to stay on the family farm and continue my passion for agriculture,” he said. “I knew at a young age that I would have to find a niche on the farm and foster it.”

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are honored with an American Star award for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education. The award is the most prestigious honor awarded to a student by the National FFA Organization.

The American Star awards, including the American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are awarded to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of a supervised agricultural experience program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing by either owning and operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

Sixteen American Star award finalists from throughout the United States are nominated for a panel of judges to interview during the convention and expo. Four are named winners and receive cash awards totaling $4,000. All American Star finalists receive a $2,000 cash award. The Stars Over America are sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, DuPont Pioneer, Elanco, Farm Credit and Syngenta, as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
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