Minnesota FFA Convention Brings Thousands to Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Fair will be the backdrop for more than 5,000 FFA members, teachers, adult supporters and sponsors to gather April 23-25 for the Minnesota FFA Association State Convention. The student team of Minnesota State FFA Officers chose the theme “All In. For All.” for the event, reflecting what the six FFA leaders saw as the commitment and passion FFA members put toward agriculture’s future.

“The theme really encapsulates our entire year and the way our state officer team has been active with one another and with students in FFA across the state,” said Emma Kuball, the 2022-2023 Minnesota FFA president, from Waterville-Elysian-Morristown FFA. “It really gets to the heart of servant leadership.”

The annual event celebrates student accomplishments in leadership, career exploration, science, community involvement and agriculture experiences. Adults who serve as sponsors, mentors, advisors and volunteers are also recognized during the convention.

During the current school year, 11 new Minnesota FFA chapters have been chartered, and the state’s membership in FFA stands at nearly 16,000.

New location for general sessions

Five general sessions, which include award presentations and the finale of naming the 2023-2024 slate of state FFA officers, will take place at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus. Students will compete in Career Development and Leadership Development Events at various University and fairgrounds locations throughout the three days.

“I want those who observe our FFA members during the convention to see that the future is bright and these students are something special,” said Kuball. “The convention demonstrates how prominent agriculture is in Minnesota and how important it is to our economy.”

Star finalists, State FFA Degree recipients named

Three hundred and fifty-three students will receive the Minnesota State FFA degree Monday night, April 24. Each has met requirements surrounding their Supervised Agricultural Experience and FFA activities.

Top proficiency awards will be presented to 120 students who excelled in their areas of agriculture, food and natural resource programs.

Fourteen students who have been selected as FFA Star finalists with their Supervised Agricultural Experiences will also vie for the FFA’s top state awards—the Stars.

Finalists for Star Farmer include: Clark Koehl, Hancock; Mason Grams, Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart; Rachel Tusa, Jackson County Central; and Emma Heiden, Rushford-Peterson.

Selected as finalists for Star in Production Placement are: Shelby Dieball, Sibley East; Caleb Neal, Verndale; Katie Thome, Southland; and Malorie Thorson, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.

Finalists for Star in AgriBusiness are: Blake Koehl, Hancock; Halli Poppler, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted; Jacob Walsh, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg; and Joseph Mohr, Jackson County Central.

The two finalists for Star in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource Sciences are: Eli Devore, Park Rapids; and Shae Fath, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.

Students offered glimpse into careers

For the first time, the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources (CFANS) will offer an experience called “Discover the Scientist Within.” Students can meet University professors to learn more about fields of study which lead to careers especially important to rural Minnesota. Hands-on activities will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday, April 24, at the North Star Ballroom on the St. Paul campus. A variety of campus and laboratory tours include field plots and the Food Science and Nutrition pilot plant. Students can also bake Kernza pancakes and cookies in the test kitchens.

CFANS recently released survey results indicating 37 percent of high schoolers are interested in pursuing careers in agriculture, food, natural resources and the environment.

The Minnesota FFA Foundation is sponsoring its 22nd Annual Career Connections event for students Monday, April 24, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Coliseum from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event is conducted in partnership with Minnesota’s Agricultural Centers for Excellence.  It allows FFA members to explore the broad range of agriculture, food and natural resource careers by visiting with 71 companies, organizations and colleges who take part.

School leadership invited

Superintendents and school board members are invited to attend the FFA Experience. The opportunity provides school district leadership an inside look at the positive impact of agriculture, food and natural resources education combined with FFA, and the multi-layered impact it can have on students and communities. The FFA Experience takes place concurrently with the Minnesota FFA Foundation Sponsor Reception in the Club Room of Williams Arena at noon Monday, April 24.