A Sussex Central High School student is attending the National Future Farmers of America Convention & Expo Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 in Louisville, Ky.

A Sussex Central High School student is attending the National Future Farmers of America Convention & Expo Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 in Louisville, Ky.

Sophomore Mikayla Ockels will represent the school’s FFA chapter in the Agriscience Fair competition. She was named a finalist in the Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems category in the Individuals in Grades 7-9 division of the competition.

This summer, Ockels received a Delaware Star Greenhand award for her Supervised Agricultural Experiences, which are small businesses she has developed and maintained since joining FFA.

Q When did you first start participating in FFA and what made you interested in the organization?

A I was in ninth grade. I’ve always been interested in ag-related activities. I live on a large farm and I raise animals, so it really connected with me.

Q What scientific research project will you be presenting at the national competition?

A My project is called “Manure to Methane.” I collected five types of manure from five different animals – goats, cows, horses, chickens and pigs – and measured the methane each type generated. Cow manure produces the most methane and pigs produce the least. I’m really interested in alternative energy sources so I’m trying to find a way to create a model that will power a light bulb off the manure I collected. No one has ever done it before, but I think it’s possible.

Q What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from FFA so far?

A I’ve learned a lot about how to effectively manage a small business through my SAEs. I take care of goats, horses, two types of chickens and bees. I breed, show, buy and sell the goats and cochins, a breed of chicken. I maintain laying hens and sell the farm fresh eggs. I collect honey from the bee hives and sell it. Being able to take these small projects and turn them into small businesses that I can profit from and that can become a line of work for me has been really helpful.

Q What are your plans for after high school?

A I really switch around a lot but I want to either be a teacher or a veterinarian.