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FFA Members Receive Highest Level of State Success
Minnesota Ag Connection - 05/21/2020

Nearly 300 agricultural education students from across the state were awarded the State FFA Degree during the second day of the 91st Minnesota State FFA Convention. The event is being held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic and included recognition presented by video on the Minnesota FFA YouTube page.

To be eligible for the State FFA Degree, members must earn and invest at least $2,000 into their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE). Candidates must complete a minimum of two years of classroom instruction in an agricultural, food and natural resources education program.

The sponsor of the State FFA Degree charms presented to each member is Riverview, LLP. The list of recipients by region and chapter can be viewed on the Minnesota FFA Association Facebook page.

Retiring Region FFA Presidents serving during 2019-2020 were recognized.

They include:

Region I: Elaina Knott, Thief River Falls;

Region II: Olivia Leslie, Staples-Motley;

Region III: Julie Orbeck, Albany;

Region IV: Becca Uecker, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted;

Region V: Anna Euerle, Litchfield;

Region VI: Emilee Xayanourom, Mountain Lake;

Region VII: Michael Moline, South Central AgriScience Academy; and

Region VIII: Kelsey Biel, Fillmore Central.

Incoming Region FFA Presidents are as follows:

Region I: Wyatt Halverson, Thief River Falls;

Region II: Tyler Curtiss, Grand Rapids;

Region III: Megan Ratka, ROCORI;

Region IV: Kyle Thomas, Rockford;

Region V: Grace Zeidler, Dassel Cokato;

Region VI: Sydnee Hubner, Pipestone Area;

Region VII: Aly Swanson, United South Central; and

Region VIII: Nicole Koziolek, Randolph.

The Minnesota FFA Alumni Association recognized nine inductees to the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame. They join 207 members named to the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame since 2004, its inaugural year. The FFA Hall of Fame is a collaborative effort between the Minnesota FFA Association, Alumni and Foundation. The new inductees include:

- Jim Burns, Watertown;

- Mark Conner, Austin;

- Dr. Brad Greiman, Roseville;

- Jerry Groskeutz, Faribault;

- Kevin Hansen, Montevideo;

- Bill Januszewski, Pelican Rapids;

- Kyle Petersen, Murdock;

- Jere Rambow, Litchfield; and

- Paul Skoglund, Tracy.

Maddie Smith, Minnesota FFA Association treasurer, spoke of resilience during her retiring address, "More than 10%," saying life is tough and so are people.

"Finding hope takes persistence. It means embracing the darkest moments by seeing what is, not what isn't," she said. "Hope is not about finding excuses to quit; it's about persisting to find reasons to be resilient."

Retiring Minnesota FFA Association secretary Elaine Dorn also delivered her retiring address titled "Everyday People."

"Everyday actions are what tilt empires," said Dorn. "If nearly every hero and world-changer started out in life similar to the way we do, why is it that we think we can't possibly influence those around us and be a world-changer ourselves?"

Minnesota FFA members also heard from representatives of the three colleges which offer agricultural education studies: University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities, University of Minnesota -- Crookston and Southwest Minnesota State University.

More than 10,000 members of the Minnesota FFA Association and 35,000 agricultural education students were offered choices of 12 virtual workshops, panel discussions and tours on topics ranging from self-leadership to careers.

The convention's second day ended with an online game and trivia night hosted by the Minnesota FFA State Officer team and an online session presented by the Minnesota FFA Foundation, "Planting Seeds -- Growing Leaders."

Links to watch the virtual award ceremonies can be found on the Convention App at on desktop, or by searching Minnesota FFA on the Crowd Compass Attendee Hub app on mobile devices.

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