The Agri-Entrepreneurship Awards honor FFA members who recognize market opportunities and develop solid business plans, which capitalize on them. Awards are available at the chapter, state and national levels.
All Agri-Entrepreneurship Award applicants will receive a rating of bronze, silver, gold or national winner. Ten National Agri-Entrepreneurship Award winners are selected annually. Each winner receives a $1,000 award and is recognized onstage during the National FFA Convention. The winners’ projects are also featured in a booth at the National FFA Agricultural Career Show. The winners’ FFA chapters also receive a $500 grant to help them promote entrepreneurship in their agriculture programs.
The Agri-Entrepreneurship Program is sponsored by USDA Rural Development as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
Here is a profile on one of this year’s 10 winners…
Old Homestead Soaps and Lotions
Name: Ashley Siferd
Chapter: Cory-Rawson FFA
Parents: Jamie and Teresa Siferd
Advisor: Lindsey Regula
When Ashley Siferd of Bluffton, Ohio, began raising goats, she soon discovered that she had extra goat’s milk that didn’t have a use. Not wanting to waste anything, she began to research what options might be available to her to maximize this product.
She soon discovered that the milk was a perfect fit for natural soaps and lotions. After some research, Siferd learned that people used goat’s milk soap for health benefits, such as treating psoriasis.
It was with this discovery that her business, Old Homestead Soaps and Lotions, was created.
“I realized this could be a unique way to expand my goat business, and I liked the idea that it could help people,” she said.
After making a few batches of soaps and lotions, Siferd went to the local farmers market. She didn’t sell much product at first but after handing out samples and creating a website, her customer base began to grow.
“When someone calls me at home and says they have heard about my product from someone else, I know that Old Homestead Soaps and Lotions has had an impact on the community,” Siferd said. “I have repeat customers and they tell me that my soaps or lotions have healed a minor skin problem for them. I feel that I have made an impact on the community when I heard these comments from my satisfied customers.”
Siferd plans to obtain a business degree from the University of Northwestern and continue to expand her business.