INDIANAPOLIS – Many Minnesota FFA members attended the 90th annual National FFA Convention.

The event – held in October – is the largest annual youth organization gathering in the nation. A record 67,000 youth attended the 2017 event.

The National FFA Convention offers FFA members the opportunity to celebrate their collective accomplishments, as well as take part in the annual meetings of the group.

American Star Farmer

Joe Arnold, Holloway, Minn., was selected as the American Star Farmer. The award is one of four American Stars given each year.

About 3,500 applicants receive their American degrees annually. From that group, each state identifies one person for the American Star awards. From that group, four finalists were selected.

The finalists traveled to Indianapolis for interviews, and Arnold was selected as the winner.

Proficiency Awards

Isabella Lynn Portner from Sleepy Eye was selected as a winner for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Dairy Production - Entrepreneurship.

She grew up on the family dairy farm, receiving her first registered Brown Swiss calf when she was only seven years old. By 2016, her herd had grown to 34 cows, heifers and bull calves. Allowed to house her herd on her family farm, she barters milk sales for her expenses of feed, housing, vaccinations, semen, BST, bedding and vet costs.

Isabella hopes to continue expanding her herd throughout her life and become more productive through genetic selection. She is supported by her parents, Mary and Tom and her FFA advisors, Mary Hoffman and Kelsey Brandt.

Trent C. Stevermer from Easton was selected as the winner for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Swine Production – Placement. He is a member of the United South Central FFA Chapter, and lives and works on the family farrow-to-finish hog farm.

With 150 sows and AI, the Stevermers have room to farrow about 30 sows at a time. When newborn pigs arrive, Trent clips needle teeth, gives iron shots, notches ears, cuts tails and gives vaccination shots.

His responsibilities have only increased with age. Once he completed college he plants to continue the operation. He is supported by his parents Becca and Chuck, and his FFA advisor, Dan Dylla.

National Proficiency Award finalists

The following young Minnesotans were selected as national finalists:

Agricultural Education - Entrepreneurship/Placement – Harley Ann Braun, Sleepy Eye.

Sheep Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement – Brady John Carter, Hancock.

Diversified Crop Production – Entrepreneurship –

Corey John Ehlert, United South Central, Bricelyn.

Dairy Production – Placement – Dillon Bradley Gratz, Atwater

Specialty Animal Production – Entrepreneurship/Placement – Kayla Kutzke, Atwater Cosmos Grove City

Poultry Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement – Holly Arlene Larson, Medford

Swine Production - Entrepreneurship – Madeline Patterson, Kenyon Wanamingo

Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance - Placement – Alex Warmka, United South Central, Bricelyn

Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management - Entrepreneurship/Placement – Daniel Williamson, Spicer

National Offiçer Team

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary, and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern, and western regions of the country.

Breanna Holbert, an agricultural education major at California State University of Chico, was elected national president. Holbert is the first female African American elected to the office of president.

Erica Baier, an agricultural education major at Iowa State University, was elected national secretary.

Piper Merritt, an agricultural economics major at Oklahoma State University, was elected central region vice president.

Bryce Cluff, an agricultural technology and management: education major at the University of Arizona, will serve as western region vice president.

Ian Bennett, majoring in agriscience and environmental systems – plant breeding and genetics at the University of Georgia, was elected southern region vice president.

Gracie Furnish, a career and technical education major at the University of Kentucky, will serve as eastern region vice president.

In addition to award ceremonies and business meetings, the National FFA Convention offered four days of leadership workshops, keynote speakers, concerts/entertainment and community service activities.

The 91st National FFA Convention and Expo is scheduled for Oct. 24-27, 2018 in Indianapolis.

Trent Stevermer.jpg (mug shot) Trent Stevermer

Isabella Portner.jpg (mug shot) Isabella Portner

NationalFFAteam.jpg (1.5-2 column) – The 2017/18 National FFA Officer Team includes President Breanna Holbert, California; Secretary Erica Baier, Iowa; Eastern Region Vice President Gracie Furnish, Kentucky; Western Region Vice President Bryce Cluff, Arizona; Southern Vice President Ian Bennett, Georgia, and Central Regional Vice President Piper Merritt, Oklahoma.

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