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FFA members excel at state competition

WORTHINGTON -- Southwest Minnesota swept the floriculture competition at the Minnesota FFA Convention this week, taking all of the top five spots -- and Region VI FFA chapters also excelled in other contests at state.

"Region VI is very, very competitive and works very, very hard," said Laura Bidne, who advises the Jackson County Central FFA along with Jeff Voss. "For us to even get out of our region to even qualify for state, we've had to work very, very hard, and not everybody gets to go to state. ... To make it out of the region, you have to put in a lot of time."

Southwest Star Concept earned first place in Floriculture, with JCC close behind in second place, Windom in third place, Westbrook-Walnut Grove in fourth place and Mountain Lake in fifth.

"Traditionally, we do well because we work hard," Bidne said. "There's no secret way around something. There's no trick -- you either learn it, or you don't."

Floriculture contests involve identifying 45 samples of cut flowers, house plants or greenhouse crops and taking a 60-question written test, as well as judging four corsages, vases of cut flowers or green plants. Finally, students have to complete a practicum -- this year, they constructed a three-flower corsage.

"We have a floral design class and a landscape design class, and that encompasses some of that as well, and we have an agriculture greenhouse at school. That helps with some of the identification aspects," Bidne said.

The majority of FFA students at JCC are involved in other school activities, so scheduling time for teams to practice together can be a challenge.

Bidne said the group wouldn't be nearly as successful if they didn't help each other out.

Strong family and community support are also key.

"It's another great year," Bidne added. "We're proud of all the kids and we're thankful for all the support that we have."

Team and individual Career Development Event contest rankings are as follows:

Agricultural Communications (five teams): Jackson County Central, third place: Alison Tate, broadcaster, gold; Bridget Guggisberg, graphic designer, silver; Cassie Ulbricht, news writer, silver; and Kate Anderson, press release writer, bronze.

Agricultural Sales (15 teams): Jackson County Central, first place: Team members and individual rankings if in the top 10 are: Zach Post, 9, Evan Koep, 10, Holly Reiter, and Brock Thaemlitz; Southwest Star Concept, 11th place: Austin Liepold, Jameson Collin, Jenny Jimenez and Eddie Rodriguez; Worthington, 15th place: Alivia Rowley and Brandi Williams.

Agricultural Mechanics (33 teams): Jackson County Central, third place: Austin Lucht, 2, Nick Carroll, Ciara Bents, and Andrew Holmberg; Fulda, 25th place: Scott Cowan, Austin Clarke and Keith Gehl.

FFA Creed Speaking (16 individuals): Jenna Haftzler, Jackson County Central, third.

Crops (38 teams): Jackson County Central, first place: Mattt Schmit, 1, Kyle Christopher, 4, Nolan Hohenstein, 5, and Zach Paulson.

Dairy Evaluation (57 teams): Windom, 24th place: Cassidi Winter, Nathan Remmers and Jacob Johnson; Fulda, 40th place: Justin Smith, Amanda Schumacher, Nicole Leinen and Laura Williams.

Dairy Handler (39 individuals): Alex Olsem, Fulda; Ashly Kingery, Worthington; and Adam Jans, Fulda.

Dairy Foods (40 teams): Westbrook-Walnut Grove, second place: Shiney Her, 5, Zua Her, Chiong Yang, 4, and Chue Yang.

Extemporaneous Speaking (nine individuals): Kayli Kuhl, Worthington, sixth.

Farm Management (29 teams): Jackson County Central, fourth place: Steven Salzwedel, Josh Thaemlitz, Kyle Edlin, 3, and Cameron Henning; Mountain Lake, sixth place: Nathan Dukes, Will Dunker, 5, Kaleb Grev, and Billy Southivong; Westbrook-Walnut Grove, Rachel Christians, Kelsey Mischke, Trey Kockelman, and Malia Yang.

Fish and Wildlife Management (51 teams): Jackson County Central, second place: Brady Bass, Joey Boyer, Peter Nasby and Jeremiah Flatgard; Westbrook-Walnut Grove, 12th place: Tong Vang, Wongfen Vue, Josh Gundermann, 8, and Feng Vue; Mountain Lake, 16th place: Nathan Gisch, Zach Dickens, Andrew Hempeck and Hunter Quiring.

Floriculture (36 teams): Southwest Star Concept, first place: Kristi Lubben, Loretta Bartosh, 3, Valoree Stevenson, 1, and Yoana Fonseca; Jackson County Central, second place: Amanda Stubbe, Megan Johnson, 5, Taylor Egeland, and Emily Arndt, 6; Windom, third place: Kayla Haglund, Nathan Schweigert, 7, Andrea Muller, 2, and Molly Resch; Westbrook-Walnut Grove, fourth place: Marissa Harnack, Alex Mischke, 9, Amber West and Amy Nelson, 10; Mountain Lake, fifth place: Haley Hamilton, Lydia Wallert, Jessica Sawatzky and Karina Fast.

Food Science (14 teams): Windom, fourth place: Ryan Helmoski, Danielle Evers, Mandy Larson and Hannah Steele; Jackson County Central, 10th place: Sydnee Donnelli, Adriane Rentschler, Mackenzie Reed and Miranda Kunerth.

Forestry (35 teams): Mountain Lake, third place: Britton Pankratz, 5, Kyle Blomgren, Adam Blomgren and Alex Schultz; Jackson County Central, fourth place: Jenna Stade, Breanne Rentschler, Courtney Donnelli and Kadie Grages.

Horse Evaluation (56 teams): Jackson County Central, first place: Hailey Ehlers, Brittney Kruse, 10, Leslie Handzus, and Lauren Vacek, 1; Pipestone Area, ninth place: Emma Shriver, Dana Wolfswinkle, Becky Keller and Vanessa Wolfswinkle; Murray County Central, 20th place: Brooke Johnson, Gabi Holinka, Jake Erickson and Shay Posthuma; Luverne: Lyndsey Fodness.

Job Interview (16 individuals): Sada Kliewer, Mountain Lake, second; Megan Johnson, Jackson County Central, sixth.

Livestock Evaluation (62 teams): Jackson County Central, 13th place: Paige Anderson, Logan Ward, Zach Ignaszewski and Jon Harmening; Pipestone Area, 16th place: Samantha Berg, Brandi Raatz, Ryan VanHoecke and Tia Muller; Windom, 19th place: John Curley, 7, Alex Sykora and Max Sykora; Mountain Lake, 20th place: Dylan Oeltjenbruns, Matt Willaby, Daniel Oeltjenbruns and Josh Fast; Southwest Star Concept, 27th place: Aaron Fest, Kristin Liepold and Autumn Hinkeldey; Luverne, 46th place: Gary Gertz, Lucas Nath, 10, and Shelby Springman.

Market Plan (three teams): Worthington, third place: John Martin, Lee Ryan and Miranda LeBrun.

Novice Parliamentary Procedure (eight teams): Jackson County Central, fourth place.

Nursery/Landscape (35 teams): Windom, third place: Kyle Miller, Matt Moller, 6, Elliot Wiens and Derek Davis; Mountain Lake, fourth place: Jordan Syverson, Anna Engstrom, 7, Mikayla Falk and Rachel Dukes; Jackson County Central, ninth place: Kailey Keck, Brooke Arndt, Ashley Grussing and Kristin Schulz; Southwest Star Concept, 13th place: Eric Haberman, Stuart Schumacher, Kyle Elder and Zach Schumacher; Murray County Central, 27th place: Austin Boock, Ethan Pieske, Joey Erickson and Josh Onken.

Parliamentary Procedure (18 teams): Pipestone, fourth place, gold ranking; Jackson County Central, bronze ranking.

Poultry Evaluation (39 teams): Fulda, first place: Trevor Ruesch, 2, Mallory Pagel, 6, John Getting and Nathan Getting; Westbrook-Walnut Grove, fourth place: Julie Vang, Sena Vang and Pa Nou Vang; Jackson County Central, ninth place: Patrick Hanson, Darick Vancura, John Vrchota and Jennie Vrchota, 8; Pipestone Area, 26th place: Andrew Bonine, Cassondra Hulstein and Ashley Bloemendaal.

Prepared Public Speaking (17 teams): Jackie Martin, Worthington, second, gold ranking; Alaina Cransten, Southwest Star Concept, bronze ranking.

Small Animal (53 teams): Mountain Lake, second place: Krista Swoboda, Mari Kremmin, 8, Paige Brown and Andy Rojas; Jackson County Central, fourth place: Angela Holthe, Sabrina McConnell, Jacob Petersen and Gabbie Holthe; Worthington, 11th place: Morgan Harberts, McKenzie Kruse, Emily Penning and Curtis Gaul; Westbrook-Walnut Grove, 18th place: Dana Kells, Kylee Jenniges, Jamie Olson and Katie Jenniges; Southwest Star Concept, 31st place: Janae Vonk, Kayla Droll and Arianna Hesemann; Murray County Central, 50th place: Haley Degreeff.

Soils (43 teams): Westbrook-Walnut Grove, fifth place: Anne Woelber, 5, Kasia Her, Madeline Frank and Nancy Yang; Fulda, eighth place: Sara Olsem, Erica Olsem, Michelle Hart and Kendra Schettler; Pipestone Area, 29th place; Cody Schramm, Kayla Quincey and Heather Evans; Hills-Beaver Creek, 32nd place: Jared Lingen and Billy Horsman.