George Frees, Senior Biochemistry and Plant Science major, Receives National FFA American Star in Agriscience Award

George Frees, senior biochemistry and plant science major, received the National FFA American Star in Agriscience Award at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, Nov. 1-4.

As a member of the Cass Career Center FFA chapter, George Frees began an agriscience-based supervised agricultural experience project. Throughout his time at Mizzou, Frees has used his biochemistry and plant science education to continue his agriscience project, studying how treating sugarcane with gibberellic acid – a growth hormone sometimes applied to citrus fruits to promote cold tolerance – increases the amount of ethanol biofuel that can be produced from the plant.

“Something that’s always been very important to me is environmentalism and proper stewardship of the environment,” Frees said. “So, it just became a very natural thing to me to combine my interest in sugarcane and my interest in the production of renewable fuels.”

Graphic with a picture of George Frees and award information. Photo courtesy of the National FFA Organization.

The American Star Awards, including American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are presented to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of supervised agricultural experience (SAE). A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing, by owning or operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business, or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

The American Star in Agriscience is awarded to the FFA member who demonstrates the top agriscience-based SAE in the nation.

Frees also serves as the University of Missouri campus beekeeper and works in four different campus labs. After graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s or doctorate in ethnobotany, the study of how native peoples around the world use medicinal plants.

Read more about Frees award here.