Jay County High School graduate and Purdue University student Samantha Homan injects a pig at her family farm. Homan will compete for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Swine Production - Placement Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 in Louisville, Ky. (Photo provided)
Jay County High School graduate and Purdue University student Samantha Homan injects a pig at her family farm. Homan will compete for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Swine Production - Placement Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 in Louisville, Ky. (Photo provided)
A Jay County High School graduate is one of only four people in the nation competing for an FFA award at the end of this month.
Samantha Homan, 19, will be in Louisville, Ky., from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 competing for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Swine Production - Placement.
The proficiency awards recognize outstanding student achievement in agribusiness gained through establishment of a new business, working for an existing company or otherwise gained hands-on career experience.
Homan is a member of the Jay County FFA chapter, and she became eligible for the award after winning the Indiana FFA competition earlier this year.
The Purdue University freshman said she found out she would be competing for the award the day she moved to campus.
“I got the text,” she said. “And my mouth dropped.”
Homan said she worked on her project for more than four years at her family farm, usually for two to three hours a day. She worked on the farm with her dad and brother, taking care of the pigs and doing other farm work.
She helped to artificially inseminate the sows and process the pigs, which entails cutting their tags, giving them a shot of iron and penicillin, castrating the males and weaning the babies.
Homan said her family usually weans about 500 pigs every two weeks.
And all the work she did needed to be documented in a record book. Part of the requirements for swine placement proficiency included making goals for everything Homan wanted to achieve while helping with the family business.
All her hard work has been worth it, she said.
“I worked so hard on it,” she said. “Getting to state and winning was my ultimate goal, and I did that, so getting to nationals is like the icing on the cake for me.”
She still has some work to do.
Before the winner is announced, Homan will have to do an interview about her proficiency placement. She’ll also meet people from the award’s sponsor, Sunglo Feeds. And the ceremony will be televised on live TV.
Each finalist gets a plaque and $500, and the winner gets an additional $500 and another plaque.
Homan said she’s hopeful she’ll be the first place winner.  
“I’ve been doing documentation on all my work for years,” she said. “Hopefully they (judges) will see that and see I’ve been working really hard on it.
“I’d be thrilled if I actually won.”