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Illuminate – State FFA Convention 2020

Staff Writer
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
This year's Sleepy Eye FFA State Degree recipients, from left: Isaac Johnson, Kalli Christensen, Isaac Huiras, Martina Nienhaus, Matthew Sellner, Maranda Braulick, Juan Cortez, Cali Rossbach, Mike Ludewig, Evan Fischer, Owen Braun, and Jacob Meyer.

This year’s State FFA Convention was held virtually, May 19-21, with the convention theme “Illuminate.” While the experiences were different participating at home this year, the convention still offered: Recognition of Member and Chapter Awards, Virtual Convention Sessions, Interactive Educational Opportunities, Leadership Opportunities, State Officer Retiring Addresses, Social Activities, and ended with the announcement of the new State FFA Officer Team for 2020-21.

We salute the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter for the recognition earned at the State FFA Convention. In addition to the awards announced, several Sleepy Eye CDE (Career Development Experience) teams qualified for state prior to the state CDE competition being canceled.

Sleepy Eye chapter places in four National Chapter award categories

The Sleepy Eye FFA was recognized at the State FFA Convention for high placement in several National Award categories. The Sleepy Eye FFA received seventh place for the National Chapter Award. The National Chapter Award program is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards (NQCS) and a Program of Activities (POA) that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership. Sleepy Eye FFA was the second place chapter in Agricultural Literacy Challenge. The Minnesota FFA Agricultural Literacy Challenge is a program that encourages FFA chapters to teach others about agriculture. The intent of this program is to increase agricultural awareness and knowledge among people of all ages. Some ideas include: educating elementary school students about where their food comes from or teaching adults and seniors citizens about the vast industry of agriculture. The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter conducted or participated in 17 literacy activities in the 2019-20 year. Sleepy Eye FFA was the fourth place chapter in Land of Service. The Land of Service is a recognition program of Minnesota FFA during State Convention. Chapters from across the state of Minnesota plan and conduct service projects and then submit any service hours they are involved in to Minnesota FFA to be recognized during State Convention. The original goal of Land of Service was to have 10,000 service hours but Minnesota FFA chapters have more than tripled that last year. The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter conducted 24 service activities in the 2019-20 year. The Sleepy Eye FFA was also recognized as the top chapter in the Models of Innovation Building Communities Category for their Adopt-a-Senior Citizen Program.

Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers.

Morgan Hoffmann was awarded first place in Agricultural Education. Morgan’s SAE involves many different activities where she teaches kids including: Ag. in the Classroom, Animal and Safety Carnivals, Farm Safety Booths at Farm Fest, Corn Days, and Party in the Park, and the County Fair Kiddy Barn as well as participating in the chapter's PALS program, helping with Timberland Leadership Camp, helping with Career Development Event (CDE) practice set up, helping with Jr. High FFA, and assisting with shop activities for young 4-H members and her classmates.

Kalli Christensen was awarded second place in Ag. Services. Kalli’s SAE in Ag. Services involves working in the office at Christensen Farms. Her SAE is based in the Supply Chain department where she purchases a multitude of products, analyzes cost for current and potential product purchases, and scans/assembles documents and contracts. Kalli has also worked with Maintenance and Repair collecting data and formatting out-dated catalogs, designed posters and flyers for Communications, and continued to interpret and input data for our Feed Department to use for project analysis and development.

Jake Price was awarded second place in Turf Grass Management. Jake’s SAE is Turf Grass Management Entrepreneurship where he currently has 14 clients he mows and trims for through Jake's Lawn Service. He is able to haul all of the equipment to each site by himself and perform all tasks. He has a riding mower, push mower, weed trimmer, trailer, and gas cans. Jake figured out a way to haul the equipment himself so that he can do this business on his own.

Sleepy Eye FFA had seven CDE teams qualify for state competition, however the competitions were canceled this year. Those teams are: Ag. Sales, Best Informed Greenhand, Forestry, Horse, Milk Quality,Poultry, and Soils.

The State FFA Degree is given to the top members of a State FFA Association. To receive a State FFA Degree, members must meet several requirements including: having earned and productively invested at least $2,000, demonstrated leadership ability, participated in FFA activities above the chapter level, and have participated in at least 25 hours of community service. This year's Sleepy Eye FFA State Degree recipients are Isaac Johnson, Kalli Christensen, Isaac Huiras, Martina Nienhaus, Matthew Sellner, Maranda Braulick, Juan Cortez, Cali Rossbach, Mike Ludewig, Evan Fischer, Owen Braun, and Jacob Meyer.

Congratulations to the Sleepy Eye FFA on another successful state convention!

Agricultural Proficiency state award winners. From left: Morgan Hoffmann, first place, Agricultural Education; Kalli Christensen, second place, Ag. Services; Jake Price, second place, Turf Grass Management