Monday, July 13, 2020

Area FFA members excel at state convention

More than 3,900 FFA members from around the state attended the 90th Minnesota FFA state convention the last three days of April. The event was held at both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses with Dodge County and Byron chapters well represented.

More than 350 Minnesota FFA members received their State FFA Degree, and members also competed in a variety of leadership development events and proficiency areas.

Triton Chapter

Triton was well represented with 23 high school students and one middle school student competing in seven total contest areas, said Advisor Robert Ickler.  In addition, four parents helped to chaperone the event: Jason Gochnauer, Donna Moenning, Jaci Robinson and Lynn Koehler.

Three Triton seniors earned their State FFA Degree on Monday evening. Roughly 3% of the 11,000 members earned that honor this year.

Triton State Degree recipients included Gabriela Staub, Beth Leeper and Abrielle Robinson.  

For a member to earn this honor, he or she must keep records of their Supervised Agricultural Experience projects, take a semester of agriculture courses each year of high school, earn or invest $2,000 in their project, participate in 10 activities above the chapter level, do 25 hours of community service, give a 6 minute speech on agriculture, and be able to explain 10 different parliamentary procedure abilities.  All of this goes into a 20 page application and the member must do an interview about the application.

Senior Martha Moenning had a very successful convention, Ickler said.  She was the state winner in the prepared public speaking leadership development event (LDE) and will be competing at the national convention in October. Martha has qualified to compete on the national level every year of high school.  Additionally she competed in the Farm Bureau Discussion Meet contest and placed second earning a $500 scholarship in the process.

Other state successes include Anna Ridenour placing third in the sheep production proficiency award area, Ickler said. This application reviews all of her goals and reflections of her project along with related financial data.  

The livestock team coached by co-advisor Mitch Dinse placed fifth in the state. Members of the team include Martha Moenning, Katie Fitzgerald, Anna Ridenour, John Moenning and Madi Styndl.

Other team participants, group and results included:

Farm Business Management, Megan Koehler, Isaac Kenworthy, Hunter Gnagey, Bronze; Milk Products, Kaiden Rieck, Katrina Heimer, Ari Thompson, Bronze; Horse, Beth Leeper, Megan Justice, Dasmine Marquardt, Breanna Klejeski, Silver.

Small Animal Vet Science, Gabi Staub, Abrielle Robinson, Emily DeVetter, Devin Dohrmann, Gold; Market Plan, Hannah Stark, Art Thompson, Katrina Heimer, Bronze; Best Informed Greenhand, Dasmine Marquardt, Bronze; Breanna Klejeski, Kiya Avery, Hunter Gnagey, Kaiden Rieck, Ari Thompson, Hannah Stark, Katrina Heimer.

Livestock, Martha Moenning, Anna Ridenour, Katie Fitzgerald, John Moenning, Madi Styndl, Gold, fifth place. Prepared Public Speaking, Martha Moenning, Gold, first place; Farm Bureau Discussion Meet, Martha Moenning, Gold, second place; Dairy Handler, Sam Gochnauer, Gold, eighth place.

Courtesy Corp.,  Maxxon Lamoree, Cooper Sowieja, Kiya Avery, Hannah Start, Madi Syndl, assisted with the forestry contest.



“The convention is so important to the students because it builds leadership and helps them find their roles in the chapter and with each other,” said K-M Advisor Lori Pagel. “They also get the chance to set long range goals and figure out different pathways to reach your goals. Growing as an individual, chapter and as a leader is really what FFA is all about.”

Four Kasson-Mantorville chapter members participated in the Best Informed Greenhand contest for first-year members, including Cody Ness, Jacob Thronson, Austin Fitch and Sadie Sullivan.

The chapter also had a team competing in the Dairy Judging Contest. The Dairy team was in the Silver group and included Senior Trace Naatz and sophomores Gabi Espinoza and Lauren Elias.


Seventeen members of the Byron FFA Chapter attended the convention with two of them, Brenna Connelly and Bayli Magnuson, earning their State Degree.

The Byron Livestock Evaluation team placed seventh out of 55 teams. The Small Animals team earned a silver ranking, the Horse Team placed 19th out of 48 teams and Brenna Connelly placed 16th out of 221 in Dairy Cattle.

For sophomore Mikayla Brennan, she found that being able to go to the convention is something that is very beneficial. "It is beneficial to go to state convention because it shows us that hard work pays off while doing our CDE's. It is a great experience with our chapter and brings us closer together."

For senior Bayli Magnuson, she explained that being able to attend the state convention is something that is beneficial for all ages. "State convention is very important for all ages. You can learn leadership skills through workshops and talking to officers from different chapters, regions, and even the state officers. You can get motivated through the speakers during sessions and retiring addresses from the state officers,” said Magnuson, who received her State Degree this year. “When you’re at the state convention, you meet many people and see them accomplish their goals. For me, seeing people walk across the stage and wearing their state degree chains pushed me to apply for mine and I got it this year at the state convention.”

After an exciting time at the convention this year, freshman Nick Rossman said he is looking forward to hopefully going back next year.

It was a really fun experience and I hope to go again next year."




The Hayfield FFA had plenty of success while attending the Minnesota FFA Convention this year. The chapter was represented by four teams competing at the state level: Horse evaluation, which placed sixth overall in the competition, consisting of Lila Gronseth, Hannah Bigelow-Ehmke, Kerstin Lindquist, Calli Coolidge, Spencer Phoenix and Annie Gilbertson. General Livestock evaluation, which also placed sixth overall in the competition, consisting of Blaine Anderson, Jaelynn Therring, Hannah Faulhaber, Maddy Johnson and Isaac Beck. Best Informed Greenhand, placing in the top half of the teams competing and having eighth grader Calli Coolidge place 16th overall individually out of 264 competitors. Those team members included Calli Coolidge, Natallia Schneider, Avery Towey, Macy Holtan, and Daisy Trader. The poultry evaluation team, also placed in the top half of the teams competing. Those team members included: Jazmin Murphy, Camryn Dahle, Macy Holtan, Avery Towey, Daisy Trader and Wesley Scanlan.

Hayfield FFA Advisor Jessika Beucler said that the state convention is very important because it allows students to showcase their talents.

“I believe that attending state convention is important for students because it allows an opportunity for these young adults to showcase their skills and hard work in a field that they are passionate about,” Beucler said. “It also is a great opportunity for them to explore different workshops that will allow for them to gain knowledge in an area of interest to them, be it agriculturally or leadership building.”


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Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times

411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent

121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing

121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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