State FFA Degree recipients honored, National FFA Vice President speaks
(Minneapolis, MN) — April 24, 2023 – Four Minnesota FFA members were named the “Stars Over Minnesota” as Day Two of the Minnesota State FFA Convention wrapped up Monday night at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The Star Awards are presented annually to the top individuals from four different Supervised Agricultural Experience project categories. The recognition program aims to celebrate members for outstanding achievement and dedication to their SAEs.
2023 State Star award winners are:
- Star Farmer: Rachel Tusa, Jackson County Central FFA, daughter of Steve and Jenny Tusa. Tusa began raising market Angus cattle during her freshman year and has since grown her inventory from five head to 20 head per year. She has raised more than 50 head of cattle in total. Tusa hopes to take over her family’s cattle and crop farm with her brother.
- Star in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource Sciences: Shae Fath, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg FFA, daughter of Tony Fath and Jen Nash. For the last two years her work has revolved around food insecurity at her high school, by way of a survey about food-insecure students and the lack of knowledge about how they can receive support. She developed an educational campaign to increase the awareness of that support.
- Star in Agribusiness: Jacob Walsh, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg FFA, son of Jason and Courtney Walsh. Walsh works at CY Harvesting, a custom forage harvesting business, and has worked his way up to being a crew leader. His role is to make harvesting decisions and train a crew of workers mainly from South Africa and Romania. He also performs preventative maintenance and repairs equipment.
- Star in Agricultural Production Placement: Adam Hicks, Tracy Area FFA, son of Brian and Michelle Hicks. Hicks lives and works on Nettiewyynnt Farms, raising corn, soybeans, hay and cattle. He has worked on the family farm since third grade, and also works for Hicks Family Hybrids, a seed business. His farm responsibilities include planting, harvesting, spraying, maintenance and tiling, along with other duties.
National FFA officer provides inspiration
Words of encouragement were delivered by National Vice President Karstyn Cantrell from Oklahoma, as FFA members gathered for the evening session.
”Fear only has as much power as we give it,” she said. “We don’t have to be fearless. We just need to remind ourselves to fear less.”
Minnesota FFA Honorary Degree recipients named
The Minnesota FFA Association relies on the support of exceptional teachers, individuals and companies to provide life-changing experiences for its members. Individuals who have provided exceptional service on a state level to agriculture, agricultural education or FFA are eligible for the Honorary FFA Degree. Additionally, teachers who have created high-quality agricultural education programs which inspire and motivate their students to strive for success are eligible.
Honorary Degrees for 2023 were presented to:
- Nate and Shannon Kuball, Waterville.
- Brad and Jennifer Beckendorf, Renville.
- Eric and Angie Alberts, Pine Island.
- Chad and Sharon Lozinski, Clara City.
- Tracy and Jamie Johnson, Fertile.
- Deron and Cam Erickson, Morris.
- Sara and Chris Bullock, Cyrus.
- Jessica Daberkow, Heron Lake.
- Lara Durben, Buffalo.
- Paul Haberman, Slayton.
- Nathan Hanel, Mankato.
- Dr. Laura Hasselquist, Brookings, South Dakota State University.
- Lynn Ketelsen, Rochester.
- Ruth Meirick, Eagan.
- Jim Mesik, Norwood Young America.
- Dr. Vikram Mistry, Brookings, South Dakota State University.
- Bonita Oestreich, Ashby.
- Jacob Oyster, Sebeka.
- Nick Schiltz, Austin.
- Brian Schornack, New York Mills.
- John Schurb, Dawson Boyd.
- Ann Tauzell, Forest Lake.
- Tim Uhlenkamp, Willmar.
- Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union.
State Degree recipients recognized
Minnesota State Degrees were awarded to 343 agricultural education students from across the state. The degree is given to the top members of a state FFA Association, and only two percent of Minnesota FFA members earn the degree. It demonstrates the student has put an exceptional amount of time into their SAE, local chapter and community.
State president gives retiring address
Emma Kuball, the retiring president of Minnesota FFA from Waterville-Elysian Morristown FFA gave her retiring address Monday night.
“We can’t let our obstacles define our stories,” Kuball emphasized.
The Minnesota FFA Convention is offered in partnership by the Minnesota FFA Association, the Minnesota FFA Foundation, and the Minnesota FFA Alumni and Supporters. Throughout the convention, content is available on the Minnesota FFA website, the Minnesota FFA YouTube Channel, on the organization’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and on the convention app which will be live just before the convention begins. Find the link on the Minnesota FFA website.
About Minnesota FFA
FFA is a national organization developing students’ potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education with more than 800,000 members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Minnesota FFA Association represents nearly 16,000 members and over 200 high school chapters across the state. Agricultural education engages students through hands-on learning in the classroom, work-based learning opportunities known as Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects and FFA activities.
About Minnesota FFA Foundation
The Minnesota FFA Foundation will be hosting additional events to support the nearly 16,000 FFA members across Minnesota. The Minnesota FFA Foundation is incredibly honored to support the Minnesota FFA and thanks its donors and sponsors who make this possible. It is the mission of the Minnesota FFA Foundation to secure strategic partnerships and financial resources that promote and enhance premier leadership, personal growth and career success for Minnesota youth in Agricultural Education. To learn more about supporting Minnesota FFA through the Minnesota FFA Foundation at mnffafoundation.org.
About Minnesota FFA Alumni and Supporters
The Minnesota FFA Alumni and Supporters works to support the nearly 16,000 FFA members, through 72 Alumni and Supporters affiliates across the state. Adult membership is open to anyone interested in supporting and promoting agriculture, agricultural education and FFA at the local, state and national level. One need not have worn the blue jacket to be a member of the FFA Alumni and Supporters, whose mission is to work to secure the promise of Agriculture Education and FFA by creating an environment where people and communities can develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. Learn more about the Minnesota FFA Alumni Association at MNFFAAlumni.org.
Learn more about the experiences of FFA members and supporters by visiting MnFFA.org and FFA.org.