Central Valley farmer wins prestigious award in Indianapolis

Peter Bliss grows 212 acres of cotton. He's also in charge of 105 acres of almonds and 100 more acres of wheat.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2022
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Peter Bliss received FFA's American Star award inside the stadium home to the Indianapolis Colts. Bliss graduated from Golden Valley High in Merced.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Peter Bliss of Chowchilla was busily discing his Acala cotton fields after harvest.

This 20-year-old grows 212 acres of cotton. He's also in charge of 105 acres of almonds and 100 more acres of wheat.

"This acreage size is newer to me and the stress is fun," he said.

Peter uses a tractor that operates on GPS and a drone to ensure efficiency.

His dad and grandparents didn't have access to this kind of tech.

"For me, it's kind of weird because it was what I was born into so for me, it's kind of normal," he said.

Bliss represents FFA - Future Farmers of America. But he started with 30 acres of his own when he was 14.

"One thing I've been able to have is a good mindset for farming," he said. "That's kept me strong and kept me pushing top growing my operation. It is tough to do it at my age but it's definitely doable."

Bliss received FFA's American Star award inside the stadium home to the Indianapolis Colts.

"It's a really cool award to win, though, I'm not going to lie," he said. "You're being up there on stage with three other people who have just a good a project as you do."

Bliss graduated from Golden Valley High in Merced two years ago, but you can remain involved with FFA until you turn 21.

Ag teacher Vikki Dompe knew Peter would be the perfect candidate for the honor.

"This is very special for us in here in California because California has brought home this title for the third time," he said.

Bliss makes all of the planting decisions on the farm.

Peter recalls the difficulty of high school because of the long hours he put in on his farm before and after school.

"I was always waiting for that school bell to ring just because this is what I love to do," he said. "I'd rather learn by doing something rather than learning how to do something from a book."

Bliss is the third National Star winner from California.