By Roz Weis,
A Decorah High School student was among the 2023 Stars Over Iowa winners announced at the 95th Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference at Iowa State University on April 18.
A Star Over Iowa was selected in each of the four different areas: Agricultural Placement, Agribusiness, Agriscience, and Agricultural Production. Justin Nierling, son of Matt and Jolene Nierling, of the Decorah FFA Chapter is the 2023 Star in Agribusiness winner. This award category is based on an entrepreneurship/ownership Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program in a non-production agriculture area.
Nierling is the owner and operator of Nierling Custom Farming, where he provides producers with services such as round baling and wrapping. In the summer of 2020, he was looking for something he could do to set himself up for a lifelong career. He looked at several options and ultimately decided to buy a round baler to start his own custom round baling business. Throughout the years, his business has grown significantly, and he has gained great responsibility and learned many life lessons in running a business. He has baled 9,600 bales in the lifetime of his business. He expanded services last year and bought a bale wrapper. He wrapped a total of 3,700 bales within the last two years. Justin recently traded his baler for a brand-new one and bought a bale trailer to rent out to clients to speed up hauling round bales.
Nierling had many people help him get started in custom farming over the years. One of the biggest ways he received clients was through advertising his services on social media and offering merchandise to the public.
In FFA, he received a gold rating at state with his proficiency. He also served as a committee chairperson in his chapter. After graduation, he plans to slowly start taking over the family farm. He also plans on picking up more crop ground to farm and to grow his business in providing producers with more custom services.
“This is a very prestigious FFA award that is based on outstanding supervised agricultural experiences (ag work-based learning) and FFA accomplishments,” commented Decorah FFA Advisor Joni Bruvold. “We are so proud of Justin on this amazing accomplishment and look forward to watching him continue to grow and expand his agricultural business.”
Decorah FFA Chapter advisor is Joni Bruvold, and DHS Principal is Brad Hurst. DHS Superintendent is Dr. Tim Cronin.
The Stars Over Iowa program is made possible with support from Beck’s Hybrids through the Iowa FFA Foundation. The National FFA Foundation sponsors cash awards for the overall star winners.