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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Student named Area 12 Star in Agribusiness

Monday, May 2, 2005

Clay Mothershead
BENTON -- What started out as a way to keep busy in eighth grade turned into a full-fledge farm project for 18-year-old Clay Mothershead.

Since eighth grade the senior at Kelly High School has tended to livestock and farmed wheat, soybeans and corn as well as working other ag-related jobs. "A typical day in the summertime would begin with working on the farm and livestock," Mothershead said. "It changes from day to day. Some days I'm at work and some I'm at the farm."

Mothershead said in the summer he gets up around 7 a.m. and goes out to feed the livestock with his granddad. If he gets a phone call from his work -- First Missouri Terminal and Midwest Grain & Barge Co. -- he'll go in and unload a couple of grain trucks for a while. And later he may bale some hay and take care of cattle.

"It's enough to keep you busy," Mothershead assured.

Earlier this month his hard work paid off when Mothershead was named Area 12 Star in Agribusiness.

"It is a pretty big honor," said Kelly FFA Chapter Adviser Jeff Scherer, adding it's an extensive application.

Area Star in Agribusiness is based on outstanding agribusiness activities as part of the student's supervised agricultural experience program and FFA leadership activities. Area 12 covers 17 chapters in the Southeast District.

One year before entering high school, Mothershead began to rent 15 acres of land to raise row crops such as wheat, soybeans as well as corn, and he would continue to do so for the next three years.

When Mothershead harvested his wheat crop, he baled the straw and marketed it to local landscaping companies. Mothershead continued to expand his cattle herd and now has 18 head of beef cattle, which include two pure bred Angus cows and two pure bred Angus bulls.

Along with the ownership side of the program, Mothershead does placement work for First Missouri Terminal and Midwest Grain & Barge Co. His responsibilities include: operating heavy machinery like loaders, tractors, excavators, backhoes and tractor-trailers; welding, probing and unloading grain trucks; and maintenance of the facilities like mowing lawns and painting. He also hauls hay for various farmers in the area.

"When I started in eighth grade, I would do it just because, and then I got in FFA and realized I could win awards and more or less make money for myself," Mothershead said.

And the rest is history.

Kelly High School Principal Tom Hulshof said it's been at least seven years, if not more, since a Kelly FFA member was named a Star.

"Clay represents the school well and FFA is a great experience. It really helps a student grow and it helps with their leadership skills," Hulshof said. To win an award is great for him, the school and the FFA Chapter, Hulshof said.

"It's really prestigious, and we're proud of him," Hulshof said. Mothershead served as Kelly-Benton FFA chapter president from 2003-2005. He is currently the Area 12 chaplain. He was the chapter historian from 2002

-2003. He has participated on the following contest teams: Creed Speaking, FFA Knowledge, Agronomy, Farm Management, Livestock Judging and Meat Evaluation. Mothershead has been a member of Courtesy Corp. at the National FFA convention in Louisville, Ky., for two years. He was a graduate of the 2003 Missouri Agribusiness Academy.

Outside of FFA, Mothershead has been a member of the Kelly-Benton High School basketball team for four years and a member of the track team for one year. He was a member of student council for two years, Future Business Leaders of America for one year, Beta Club for three years and FFA for four years.

MFA Inc., Columbia, sponsors the Area Star in Agribusiness awards. The Missouri FFA Association has more than 22,500 members. More than 7,000 FFA members and guest attended the annual state convention held April 21

-22 in Columbia, where Mothershead competed at the state level with the other Area Stars.

Even though Mothershead didn't win State Star, he was happy for the experience, he said. And he credited Scherer and Jackson FFA Chapter advisers, David Wells and Dan Burkemer, for helping prepare for the competition.

After his high school graduation next month, Mothershead plans to attend a four-year university and major in agricultural engineering. During that time he would also like to pursue the American FFA Degree. The son of Russ and Kim Mothershead of Scott City hopes to later bring his knowledge of engineering back home to participate in his family's businesses.

"My dad, granddad and big brother definitely were there for me,"

Mothershead said. "They presented me with the opportunity and let me take it from there. Without them, I wouldn't be here."