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Taylorville FFA member makes history as two- time National FFA Proficiency Award winner

Working with cattle and being an active FFA member has been a passion for a local Owaneco teen. Throughout her four year FFA career, Taylorville High School graduate Lizzie Schafer worked diligently at Schafer Stock Farm by logging over 4200 hours of work experience. Schafer stood on stage on Thursday at the third session of the 95th National FFA Convention as a National Proficiency Award Finalist in the area of Beef Production Placement. In front of over 50,000 members and guests in Indianapolis, IN, in addition to viewers watching at home through RFD-TV, Schafer’s name was called as the National Proficiency Award Champion. Last year Lizzie was named the National Proficiency Award winner in the area of Agriscience Research-Animal Systems, which makes her the first, two-time national proficiency award winner in the history of the Taylorville Agriculture Program.

“When her name was announced as the winner, excitement instantly hit and the feeling of success was sweet,” co-FFA advisor and Lizzie’s mother Sue Schafer said. “It was certainly a great moment to stand on stage with my daughter and knowing that her hours and years of hard work were being recognized at the highest level on a national stage.”

“My passion for the cattle industry began while holding tails as my dad artificially inseminated cows when I was five years old. While this may seem like a miniscule job, this assignment sparked my interest in the cattle world.” says Lizzie Schafer. Schafer Stock Farm is a productive Angus cattle operation that focuses on producing performance tested bulls, breeding females, show heifers, and profitable feedlot cattle. “For as long as I can remember, I have been in my father’s shadow on the farm feeding cattle, bedding barns, hauling manure, checking pastures, and marketing breeding stock. I officially began my beef placement SAE in the fall of my freshmen year. During my experience at Schafer Stock Farm, I have had the opportunity to work with my parents and brother. This SAE has given me the opportunity to work with other cattle producers from across the nation and gain hands-on experience with the latest technologies in bovine reproduction.”

Over the past four years, Lizzie has had an incredibly successful FFA career. This journey started out with Lizzie Schafer being named the Illinois Star Discovery FFA member and then progressed into being named the State Champion FFA Creed Speaker, State Champion FFA Prepared Public Speaking winner, Four-Time State FFA Agriscience Fair winner, Two-Time National FFA Agriscience Fair winner, Illinois FFA Star in Agriscience, a Two-Time State Proficiency Award winner, and now a Two- Time National Proficiency Award winner. Along with this Lizzie has been a four year member of the award winning Taylorville FFA Livestock Judging Team and represented the United States twice at the Royal Highland Livestock Judging Contest in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lizzie still has one more goal on her plate which is to run for American Star in Agriscience when she will be a Junior in College.

“We were very excited when Lizzie showed interest in cattle production at a very young age,” said Lizzie’s father and Schafer Stock Farm owner Aaron Schafer. “Over the years Lizzie’s skills have increased. She started out by doing basic chores and has progressed to training employees, assisting cows calving, managing donor cows and IVF shot schedules, selecting bull matings within the herd, advertising and sale promotion, and taking on important management roles that have made our operation successful. This achievement was definitely well deserved.”

After being named the National Proficiency Award Champion, Schafer wanted to thank everyone who helped her accomplish this goal.

“I could never have made it this far in my FFA career without the help of my advisors, parents, grandparents, and amazing teachers and mentors,” said Schafer. “Specifically, I would like to thank Ms. King, Mrs. Parks, and Mrs. Sorrill for looking over my record book and practicing my interview. I would never have dreamed of being on the national stage without the guidance from all of these outstanding people.”

Lizzie Schafer is currently a freshman on a livestock judging scholarship at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. She is double majoring in Agriculture Communications and Animals Science.

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