Dan and Karen Streff of Salmen, South Dakota, put the phrase from the FFA Creed, "a faith, born not of words but of deeds" into action, having raised three McCook Central FFA Chapter alumni. The family was recognized April 7 during the South Dakota State FFA Convention in Brookings with the “FFA Family of the Year” award.
Dan and Karen continue to actively support FFA for more than 30 years. As the parents of three McCook Central FFA chapter alumni, and Dan a Salem FFA alumni himself, their association with the blue corduroy jacket spans several decades.
The family includes the Streff children and their spouses: Brock and Raqui Streff, Nick and Kristin Streff, and Ashley (Streff) and Tony Gelderman, as well as future FFA members: Kale, Brynn, Teagan, Rory, Greta, Owen, Violet, Sadie and Seneca.
The Streffs never miss an opportunity to share with others how their lives have been positively influenced by Agriculture Education and FFA. Through the McCook Central FFA, the Streffs are involved in many community activities, actively supporting each project, class and activity, in addition to offering advice, guidance and supervision.
They have set up and conducted practice interviews for national proficiency finalists, state star finalists, and national star finalists for 15 years. They are the first to volunteer a donation or roll up their sleeves to work for chapter community service projects. They judge events, drive vehicles and chaperone at National FFA Convention, have planted and combined the chapter test plot, hauled exhibits to state fair and assisted with fitting and clipping livestock for shows.
They fund educational tours for the chapter each year enroute to National FFA Convention, as well as assist with funds for the annual SOFY (Save Our Farm Youth) day.
Each fall and spring, Karen puts up displays at work at Puthoff Repair Sales & Service, Inc., showcasing FFA members attending the National FFA Convention, and state finalists for proficiencies or stars, promoting FFA in the community to the customers.
"The Streffs are a positive influence on every member as they encourage them in all endeavors," McCook FFA advisor Terry Rieckman said. "The passion and dedication they give to our chapter along with other activities and organizations in our community is what small town America is all about.”
Dan, Brock, Nick, Ashley and Tony served in chapter and district officer leadership positions in the Salem, McCook Central and Tri-Valley FFA chapters - each numerous years.
The family has five State and three American FFA Degree recipients, and Nick was the first ever American Star in Agricultural Placement. In addition, Dan received the DeKalb award, they had seven state winning proficiencies, four national proficiency finalists and two national proficiency Swine Placement winners, three district Stars, a State Star finalist, two FFA International Experience to Costa Rica participants, and a National Food Science Career Development Event participant.
Dan and Karen have both received their Honorary State and American Degrees as well as Dan, Karen and Ashley receiving the State Distinguished Service Award.
In addition to their own personal successes, family members continue to promote FFA through their actions, participating in chapter and state activities, and supporting anyone involved. Every time they have been asked to help, with their time, talents or treasure, the answer has been “Yes,” without hesitation.
They are always willing to judging for district and area Leadership Development Events, state proficiency awards, local and state Star awards in both South Dakota and Nebraska, offer encouragement to students no matter their chapter, and help youth from across the state become more knowledgeable about the swine industry and even find Supervised Ag experience projects.
They are verbal advocates for agriculture education/FFA and all it can do for young people.
Dan and Karen and family have sponsored the State Star in Ag Placement since its first year in 2002, as well as sponsoring State FFA Degrees. They also encourage others to become sponsors of statewide awards and events, and introduce potential donors to state staff.
They continuously expound upon how FFA helped grow the values and personal traits they wanted in their children and they want to help others receive that experience too. In their own words, as featured on the SD FFA Foundation homepage, Dan and Karen state, “We believe in the opportunity that FFA has given our kids and we want to give the same opportunity to other FFA members."
The Streff family not only gives their time to the FFA – they give it to several other organizations, including: their church,where Dan served as Minister of Communion, Lector and was on the church Finance Council for 10 years, youth wrestling, the SD Pork Producers Executive Board, SD Master Pork Producers and volunteer coaching youth and JO volleyball. They are all active in production agriculture or the agricultural industry, and all actively seek ways to help educate and support Agriculture Education and FFA chapters through their careers.
The South Dakota FFA Foundation presented each Streff family group with an "FFA Family of the Year" photo frame and thank you for their tremendous impact on agriculture education and FFA in South Dakota.
"The actions of the entire Streff family through multiple generations have modeled the FFA mission ... developing premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education. We are proud to recognize them with this special award," said Gerri Ann Eide, SD FFA Foundation Executive Director.