Dylan Massa is one of four national finalists for top FFA award

The seed of success begin to grow when Dylan Massa attended the National FFA Convention as a freshman and watched the awarding of the American Star Farmer. Dylan lives just outside Lamar, Mo., and is a member of the Liberal FFA Chapter, where his advisors were the late Ron Dickens and Allie Runnels. Dylan has been selected as one of the four 2015 American Star Farmer Finalists, among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. The American Star Farmer award is the highest recognition in the nation for young farmers to achieve.
“I asked Mr. Dickens what an American Star Farmer was and what it took to get there? He looked at me and said, ‘It takes dedication, heart and you have to work hard.’” Dylan recalled.
Dylan’s operation started with three cows when he was in seventh grade and he continued to grow with the support of his family and FFA advisors.
“Whenever I started my freshman year of high school, Mr. Dickens was a big enthusiast about it. He encouraged me to start up an SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience Program) with cows alongside my parents and grandpa,” he said.
As a freshman, Dylan purchased a couple small groups of cows and hit the ground running.
“I naturally had a love for it,” Dylan said. “Whenever I was a young boy my grandma would pick me up from school and we would go out and check cows and calves. I just love riding around in the truck and being a part of the farm and whenever I had to opportunity to buy in I did.”
Throughout his junior and senior years of high school he kept his focus and continued to work more diligently toward his goal through exchange of labor or discovering new opportunities on land that was available to rent.
“I have been truly blessed to this point. Right after I graduated high school I ended up buying my grandpa out of his portion of the farm, and now my dad and myself own the place and run cows alongside each other. I could not enjoy it more,” exclaimed Dylan. “I have had great opportunities to buy in on what I love and not have to work a day in my life because I enjoy my lifestyle that much.”
Hard work and dedication is evident in the scope of Dylan’s SAE. Dylan serves as one of the partners at Massa Ranch and Superior Beef Genetics, formally Nichols Farms-Missouri Division.
“On the cattle side of things, we have about a 50/50 herd of commercial cows and registered cows,” explained Dylan. He currently raises Angus, Simmental and SimAngus cattle but is starting to diversify his herd by adding purebred Red Angus, red Simmental and F1 crosses.
“We host a bull sale, with females, the second weekend of March,” explained Dylan. “It is an open house with 80 to 90 bulls available. We will also host another bull sale in the fall, but it is more first- come-first-serve because people are busy with harvest and fall calving.”
In addition to his normal duties, Dylan is also the farm’s AI technician.
“We use artificial insemination to a great extent,” he explained. “We like being able to use the top bulls in the breed to better our herd for years to come.”
He also incorporates Embryo Transfer (ET) into the herd.
“We use ET to get more purebred genetics out of the same amount of purebred cows by implanting them into our commercial cows to help grow the calves,” explained Dylan. “It is fun.” Along with the cattle operation, he hauls around 40 to 45 loads of cattle a year throughout the four-state area and does custom fencing.
“You are going to hear from everybody to work hard and be dedicated,” replied Dylan as he shared a piece of advice for other FFA members. “Stay humble. Just make sure what you do, do it with all of your heart and have a passion for it. When you set yourself a goal do not stop when you get to the goal, make a new goal. Whenever you use your heart, make sure your heart is right. Whenever my heart is right there is not much I feel can hold me back,” he exclaimed.
Dylan has had many supporters along his journey which include his parents, Russ and Denny Massa; sisters, Makensey Massa and Allie Runnels, and his late grandma Joan Massa. His dad, Russ, has been one of his biggest mentors.
“He let me make management decisions and offered advice from the simplest things like sorting cows to the more difficult things such as when to pulls cows off certain grass,” explained Dylan. “My mom, Denny, was always cheering me on whether it was showing calves or playing baseball. My sisters Allie, who also doubled as my ag teacher, and Makensey were always encouraging me and pushing me to my fullest potential.
“It has always been a goal of mine to be here, but I never knew it would be reality. There are people out there that deserve it more, but I feel pretty blessed and privileged to be at this point in my life right now because I think it is a big milestone,” said Dylan.


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