Off-Farm Income

I am always amazed by the natural curiosity that students who are American Star Finalists for Agriscience Research have.  Today's interview illustrates exactly why that is.

Sydney Hefty has quite an FFA legacy already going in her family.  Her cousin, Leah Hefty, previous a guest on this show, was also an American Star Finalist in the category of Agriscience Research, and is now Sydney's FFA Advisor.  Sydney and Leah's grandfather was a career FFA Advisor, and he introduced Sydney to science and research when she was just five years old, but not because he saw this coming.  He wanted Sydney to get involved with public speaking as soon as possible, and the only avenue open to her at that age was the science fair.  Little did he know that he was tapping into a natural curiosity and aptitude for research that would carry forward all the way to today and the National FFA Convention.

Sydney has been researching ever since.  For example, she once looked at a wind turbine, wondered how it worked and then designed her own out of an empty cylinder of Quaker Oats.  She also saw the need for something different that would be able to kill pigweed because of its resistance to conventional herbicides, and she developed her own, organic herbicide with a 94% kill rate!

All of this has led Sydney now to Purdue University where she is studying agricultural economics, she is already teaching courses as a sophomore and she continues to chase her natural desire for research and problem solving!

Here is Sydney's Recipe for her natural herbicide

  • 6oz of 20% concentration vinegar
  • .o02oz of dish soap
  • .5oz of orange oil


HIGH SCHOOL: DeKalb High School; Waterloo, Indiana

MASCOT: Barons



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

Sydney's FFA Advisor's Email Address:

DeKalb High School's Telephone Number: (260) 920-1012


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:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1481_Sydney_Hefty-COMM_19_06-083122.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST