L-O, Southland FFA students win state FFA awards

Published 8:23 am Thursday, May 2, 2019

Area students from Mower County continue to show the rest of the state what it takes to be victorious through hard work and persistence.

Southland and LeRoy-Ostrander FFAs attended the Minnesota FFA Convention at the University of Minnesota for contests, workshops and sessions. Nearly 4,000 students competed in Career Development Events and attended leadership workshops on the U of M campus.

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“We are here at this convention and in these blue jackets to do great things and we will do great things,” said Keegan Zimmermann, FFA state vice president in a press release. “These moments are where it happens. The moments we choose to live in, to truly be present in.”

During the convention, both Southland and LeRoy-Ostrander had FFA students who were honored and won first place in their Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE) with the Minnesota FFA Proficiency Awards.

“These people who give you gifts, they are your tribe,” said Natasha Mortenson, Minnesota FFA Foundation Chair. “That tribe of people want you to be successful. They realize that you are the future leaders. We hope your experiences in FFA will allow you to grow as a leader and that the gift you’ve been given will be used wisely.”

Auna Koenigs (left) represented Southland FFA at the Minnesota FFA Convention and received state recognition with the FFA Proficiency Awards.

Representing Southland were seniors Tyler Jax and Auna Koenigs who both placed first in their FFA proficiency areas at the Minnesota FFA Convention. Koenigs was first in her proficiency in veterinary science and her SAE was in veterinary science, having worked for a local veterinarian and performed a series of office tasks, ordering and customer service. Jax placed first in the area of diversified agriculture, which was largely attributed to his work on a large dairy farm and local swine finishing facility.

For these students, they worked in their specific experiences during their four years with the FFA keeping accurate records, recording skills and taking pictures of their activities, as well as completing a 24-page application while going through an interview. All FFA members are asked to participate in monthly meetings, keep records of their SAE, participate on a team and assist with community service.

The two students won the region earlier this year in January and their applications were judged at the state level in March. Having secured victories at state, their applications will be sent to nationals for further consideration. If judged and determined to be a finalist, then Jax and Koenigs will travel to Indianapolis for a finalist interview and attempt to win their area and place first in the country.

“These two students have done all these and should be role models for younger students to follow,” said Southland FFA advisor Kevin Brown. “I encourage all members to have goals and to aim for higher things. I was really not surprised they won their areas since their applications and interviews were strong. I am very proud of Tyler and Auna and hopefully this will be a highlight of their high school career.”

Dylan Lunning (right) was a recipient of the Minnesota FFA State Proficiency Award. He placed first in the beef production placement category and represented the LeRoy-Ostrander FFA.

Leading LeRoy-Ostrander

Coming into first place for L-O was senior Dylan Lunning, who won a Minnesota FFA Proficiency Award within his SAE in beef production placement.

This didn’t come as a surprise for Tiffany Timm, L-O FFA advisor. She praised Lunning for his leadership skills, as well as his overall growth within the FFA organization. Lunning was described to be “extremely devoted to his FFA SAE,” according to Timm and assists with daily chores, fieldwork, keep and cull animal determinations of cows, bulls and steers, artificial insemination and natural mating of heifers and mature cows, feed ration modifications and more on the Lunning Brothers Simmental operation just outside of LeRoy.

The desire for Lunning is to pursue a degree in beef science technology and ag finance at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, Iowa while proving his commitment to agriculture and the beef industry.

To qualify for the Minnesota FFA Convention, Lunning completed the state proficiency award application in both 2018 and 2019, and was third in the state last year and continued to add depth to his application and won this year at state. Both years, Lunning was the Region 8 FFA beef production placement winner. From answering questions, documenting work hours, complete a resume and attaching pictures related to his work within his SAE, Lunning was selected a state winner.

Timm also raved about Lunning’s mentorship of younger students and held no doubt that her FFA student will be making waves in the future of the agricultural industry.

“I am so very proud of Dylan’s selection as the state winner in the beef production placement proficiency area,” Timm said. “Dylan believes in being organized and level-headed when goals and deadlines must be met and accomplished. He is a wonderful student leader and a team leader.”