Proficiency finalist capitalizes on experience, strives for gold

South Dakota FFA Foundation
Farm Forum

Hunter Eide, a member of the Gettysburg FFA, was selected as one of four national finalists in the Agriscience Research-Animal Systems proficiency area. Proficiency awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward future careers.

Eide started conducting research four years ago after a family visit to McNenny Fish Hatchery near Spearfish. While there, he met biologist Mike Barnes, who was looking for motivated high school students to do research outside of the hatchery environment for biosecurity reasons.

“My SAE includes four research experiments on landlocked fall chinook salmon eggs,” Eide said. “The focus varied from testing disinfectant rates on egg survival to testing the ability to delay egg fertilization for transportation to the hatchery, which would increase survival rates.” In addition to a lot of research, Eide spent 10 weeks for each of the four experiments incubating the eggs, and regularly recording mortality, eye up, and hatch rates.

Eide is most proud of being published in three peer-reviewed, international, industry journals while in high school. His studies were shared with South Dakota fisheries biologists, and are changing the spawning industry of landlocked fall chinook salmon eggs by reducing the cost and labor needed to fertilize the eggs as well as when and where biologists can fertilize eggs.

“Take it from me — I started out with no idea how to do a research project, what the scientific method was, or how to write a research paper,” Eide said. “Here I am, four years later, a three-time international peer-reviewed published author, and a National FFA proficiency finalist. Anything is possible if you work for it.”

Eide sent a five-minute video to compete at nationals. Results will be announced Oct. 27 during the second session of the 93rd Virtual National FFA Convention, which starts at 6 p.m. CDT. Convention sessions will be broadcast on RFD-TV.

Hunter Eide