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Vander Veen named Iowa FFA VP

Devan Vander Veen of the Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA Chapter was elected an Iowa FFA vice president and president of the Northwest District during the state convention Tuesday in Ames, Iowa. Submitted Photo

SIBLEY — Devan Vander Veen, a senior at Sibley-Ocheyedan High School, was elected Iowa FFA vice president representing the Northwest Region during the 86th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference Tuesday night in Ames.

Vander Veen was one of 24 candidates vying for a position on the state officer team and continues a four-year string of state officers hailing from the Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA Chapter.

“I’m still pretty speechless about it — it’s still so unreal,” said Vander Veen after returning to school on Wednesday.

To earn the state officer position, Vander Veen participated in a two-day interview process last week that included seven rounds of personal questions, speeches and essay writing. The results of those rounds were graded, leading to the announcement of the candidate ballot Monday morning.

“Once we found out we were on the ballot, we had to give a 2-minute speech to the delegates from our district,” he said, adding that they were also asked the same two questions.

Vander Veen’s family, including parents Rod and Tami and older sister, Amber, were on hand Tuesday night when he was announced the Iowa FFA vice president from the Northwest District. The selection comes on the heels of his one-year term as the Northwest District vice president in 2013-2014.

“I really decided back in January (to apply for state office),” Vander Veen said. “That’s when I started doing some chapter visits as a district officer.”

He will now serve alongside eight fellow officers for the next year, helping to present leadership camps and workshops, travel to chapters throughout the state and carry the message of agriculture and the FFA to high school students. In addition, they will participate in Iowa FFA Foundation activities, the Iowa State Fair, Iowa FFA Legislative Symposium, the National FFA Convention and numerous FFA Career Development Events.

The team will also coordinate the 87th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference next spring in Ames.

By then, Vander Veen will be in the midst of his freshman year of college. He plans to attend Iowa State University in Ames this fall to pursue a degree in agricultural systems technology.

“I want to be able to develop modern practices into different feed mills and grain elevators,” he said. “With all of the technology coming, I want to apply that to older cooperatives.”

The career field sparked his interest last summer, while working for Deluxe Feeds in Sheldon, Iowa. It’s the same place where his dad has worked for years.

Vander Veen said he is excited to serve the Iowa FFA in the coming year.

“I’m really looking forward to making those connections with the businesses in the state … along with meeting my district officer team and hanging out with them,” he said.

Other notable happenings from the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference include:

n Stars over Iowa finalists included Micah Bajema of West Lyon FFA in agriscience and Cody Ver Steeg, West Lyon, in production. The star awards recognize students who exhibit outstanding agricultural and management skills through their career development programs.

  • Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA members Shannon Michelson and Dalton Frick each placed second in Iowa FFA Proficiency categories for completing records on their Supervised Agricultural Experience. Michelson’s award was in Home and/or Community Development, while Frick’s award was in Specialty Animal Production.
  • The Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA Chapter was awarded a $5,000 cash prize for taking first place in the Nutrients for Life program. The award is based on work the chapter did to present nutrient-based projects to elementary school students. The project included teaching children the importance of fertilizers, demonstrating root growth and the germination process of seeds and potatoes.
  • Iowa FFA Degree recipients from the West Lyon Chapter were Micah Bajema, Kinzi Blomgren, Hope Bosler, James Dubbelde, Benjamin Feucht, Caleb Gayer, Kelsey Knoblock, Nickolas Meester, Matthew Metzger, Reagen Meyer, Talon Meyer, Kendra Mogler, Cari Moser and Cody Ver Steeg. From Sheldon, recipients were Katherine Bomgaars, Francesca Feekes, Brian Klein and Blake Roetman. Sibley-Ocheyedan honorees included Houston Coleman, Mystic Henningsen, Cody Hurlburt, Emily Kruger, Kellyn Kruger, Maddie Lonneman, Jacob Manitz, Justis McCarty, Marissa Pham, Major Postma, Ignacio Romero, Reid Van Wyk, Matthew Vander Ploeg, Kelvin Vander Veen and Joshua Wagenaar.
  • Participating in the Iowa FFA Band from Sibley-Ocheyedan were Jill Berkland and Megan Block, along with Emily Resch of the Spirit Lake FFA and Noah Blankespoor, Rebecca Van Regenmorter, Josey Poppens, Bailee Roemen, Karisa Faber, Darren Blauwet and Grace Rens from West Lyon FFA.
  • State FFA Choir participants included West Lyon students Evan VerSteeg, Taryn Knoblock and Heather Moser. Brittany Hibma participated from Spirit Lake, and Makenzie Wolter, Makayla Tangeman, Sara Eggink, Jacob Schultz and Kyle Lowe represented the Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA Chapter.
  • Dalton Peterson of the Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA Chapter earned second place in the Iowa FFA Talent contest. Also participating from this area were Jonathan Rozeboom, Sheldon, Marissa Pham, Sibley-Ocheyedan, and Elizabeth Naviaux of Spirit Lake.
  • The Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA Experience the Action Career Development Event team of Makenzie Wolter, Andrea Meyer, Jacob Schultz, Colby Wagenaar and Lars Ackerman garnered eighth place.
  • Evan Ver Steeg of West Lyon FFA took first place in the FFA Creed contest.
Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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