PAS excel at state contest
WORTHINGTON — Members of the Post-Secondary Agriculture Students (PAS) organization at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington earned two state team championships and returned home with a Minnesota PAS Vice-President following the state convention earlier this month in Marshall.
Minnesota West freshman Peter Scholtes, Worthington, will fill one of three vice-presidential posts on the five-member officer team for the collegiate agricultural organization.
Throughout the coming year, he will work with the officer team to build relationships with business sponsors, attend a planning retreat and assist in lining up guest speakers and organizing the 2015 State PAS Conference. In addition, with the National PAS Conference hosted by Minnesota next month in St. Cloud, Scholtes anticipates he will be helping wherever he’s needed.
A three-time officer with the Worthington FFA Chapter, Scholtes said he was quite excited to be selected for the Minnesota PAS officer team. As one of 10 vying for an office, he had to submit an application and resume, complete an interview process and participate in a team activity.
Scholtes said several of the other individuals vying for an office were past chapter, regional or state FFA officers.
“These people were uber-qualified,” he said, adding that a three-judge panel selected the officer slate. “I was just so excited (to be selected). Everyone was so well qualified.”
After securing a state office as a freshman, Scholtes said he won’t be able to reapply during his sophomore year. He hopes, however, to apply for a National PAS office.
All Minnesota West students enrolled in agriculture classes are automatically members of PAS. Scholtes said he enjoys participating in the organization, which is led locally by ag teacher Jeff Rogers.
After completing two years at Minnesota West, Scholtes intends to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a degree in agronomy or GIS/GPS technology. He hopes to return to the area to work and possibly farm after college.
In the State PAS contests, freshmen Morgan Harberts and Randi Strandberg not only took first place team in the floriculture contest, but individually ranked second and third, consecutively.
Harberts, who works in the Hy-Vee Floral department in Worthington, said her job really helped with the competition, while Strandberg chalked up her success to college classes such as agronomy. The contest included a 50-question multiple choice quiz and 25 flower identification questions.
As they prepare for the national contest March 13-14 in St. Cloud, Strandberg said they will review their state tests and practice identification with floral flashcards. The pair will also study up on plant diseases.
The trio of beef team members who garnered first in the state PAS contest included a couple of returning members in Lucas Nath, of Luverne, and Mitch Gravenhof of Worthington. This time around, Nath tied for first place but lost in a tiebreaker, while Gravenhof took third place. Joining them on the team was Gary Gertz, of Jasper, a freshman and new PAS member.
In the State PAS beef contest, team members had to solve mathematical equations and marketing questions in addition to completing a 100-question multiple choice test.
All three students reside on beef farms, and all plan to return to their family farm after graduating from Minnesota West’s two-year agriculture degree program.
Growing up in the beef industry, combined with their nutrition, ag marketing and production classes at Minnesota West, helped them prepare for the contest.
At nationals, Gravenhof said the team will have up to an hour to prepare a presentation on a selected topic, and then be given 15 minutes to present before a panel of judges.
“There are a lot more talented teams, including some from four-year colleges, at the national contest,” Gravenhof said.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.