MIAMI COUNTY — Milton-Union graduate Abigail Hissong took home top honors in agriscience research at the 2018 National FFA Convention last month.
Hissong earned a national proficiency award in agriscience research for plant systems.
She was one of more than 65,000 FFA members in attendance at the 91st national convention in Indianapolis.
“I was really surprised because the other projects had so much research and really interesting projects,” she said of the other finalists for the award. They included students from Utah, Georgia and Oklahoma. “I really enjoyed it and I’m really grateful for all opportunities that I’ve gotten through FFA and through Milton.”
Hissong graduated from Milton-Union High School in 2018 and is currently studying agronomy at Wilmington College. She is the daughter of Ty and Candi Hissong.
Hissong, who grew up on a farm, said her interest in agronomy — which she said is just a fancy word for the study of plant and soil science— was sparked by the school science fair.
In her sophomore year of high school, as she got more involved in agriculture classes, her interest in science and agriculture intersected.
“It was really science fair that got me into the research part of it and then the ag classes that transferred into researching plant systems,” she said.
Her multi-year research looked at corn germination and growth, nitrogen impact on crop yield and profitability, and different methods of fungicide application and how it affects crops.
The first year, she studied the effect of temperature and environment on 24 corn plants. The next year, she had to plant on a larger scale, apply nitrogen and take tissue samples, field scouting and harvesting. The third year was similar to the second, but studied a different chemical and it’s effects.
Hissong plans to be an agronomist after graduation. She said her proficiency research has helped her in her college classes and her experiences in FFA have put her in touch with others in the field.
“It’s given me a good foundation, good building blocks for a basic understanding of everything,” she said. “Having this research and all the data I collected is really going to help me when I become an agronomist to give good recommendations to people I’m advising and I’ll have scientific research to back up my claims.”
Reach Cecilia Fox at email@example.com.