Off-Farm Income

Our guest today, Maria Sterling, started her supervised agricultural experience out with two business partners.  As she describes it, the three of them were partially joking about what to do for their SAE and the idea of them raising chickens for eggs came up.  They decided to go for it, and between the three of them they were able to obtain two, $1,000 SAE grants, to fund the project.  This was during their sophomore year, but by the end of their junior year, only Maria was still interested in the business.

I have definitely experienced the same thing in life.  Several people are interested in a project, but when the everyday challenges of the work set in, just one or two people are left standing.  In this case it was Maria, but looking back on how it developed, it kind of looks obvious now that she had the passion.  When Maria found herself being the sole owner of the business she branded it "Sunny Side Eggs" and started marketing through word of mouth, at her school and on social media.  And, she has found herself at times, not able to keep up with the demand for her eggs.

Maria just graduated this year, and she is off to the University Of North Carolina at Wilmington, right around the time that her episode is released.  She is still deciding what to study but had narrowed it down to either marine biology or environmental science.  She says that no matter where this ultimately takes her, you will find her raising chickens, either on a larger basis like now or in a back yard flock.


HIGH SCHOOL: Smyrna High School; Smyrna, Deleware

MASCOT: Eagles

FFA ADVISOR: Kellie Michaud


Click on the picture below to be taken to the Smyrna High School Ag. Department's website:

Maria's FFA Advisor's Email Address:

Smyrna High School's Telephone Number: (302) 653-8581


National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.


  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

More Places You Can Listen to Off-Farm Income And Matt Brechwald:


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1471-Maira_Sterling-COMM_7_52-081322.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT