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      Kirksville High senior wins Missouri FFA proficiency award

      Hunter Bender

      Hunter Bender, of Kirksville, Mo., won the Missouri FFA Wildlife Management Entrepreneurship and Placement Combined Proficiency Award at the 86th Missouri FFA Convention.

      Bender, a senior at Kirksville AVTS High School, is the son of John Bender and Lori Nicol. He is a member of the Kirksville FFA Chapter. His FFA advisors are Cassie Cowles and Jason Dimmitt.

      BenderĂ¢??s supervised agricultural experience program started when he talked his dad into letting him guide a client on a deer hunt for the family outfitting business. That hunt led to employment and the second year when his dad wanted to work the farm full time Bender asked if he could take over the outfitting business. He traded all of his livestock and equipment for the business to his father. Bender has learned to manage his money so he is able to buy groceries, hunting equipment, pay the utilities at the hunting lodge and land leases. Bender expanded his SAE starting a trapping project after he took over the business. He has been offered jobs out of state to trap varmits year round. Bender learned that communication is an important skill to have in both his businesses. Bender is always looking for new clients and knows you must always present yourself in a responsible manner to be successful.

      Next year, Bender plans to open a fur trap where he will buy and sell furs, traps and trapping equipment. He has plans to expand the outfitting business. With trapping, he plans to keep going and increasing the size of his line.

      As an FFA member Bender attended Missouri FFA Convention, participated in livestock, dairy cattle, and poultry career development events. He has been an exhibitor at the NW District Fair, NE District Fair and Area Fair.

      Other activities include participation in track and field, Show-Me 4-H Club and State 4-H Trapshoot.

      He plans to get his bachelors degree in business management and then go to taxidermy school.

      Proficiency awards recognize FFA members who excel as agricultural entrepreneurs, employees or volunteers while gaining hands-on career experience. The Wildlife Production Proficiency Award is one of 50 proficiency awards areas recognized at the state level. The Missouri Department of Conservation sponsored this award.

      The Missouri FFA has 25,852 members representing 334 chapters. The national organization has more than 579,000 members representing 7,570 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

      The FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.(information provided by Missouri FFA Association)