Star on the state stage

Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2021

AHS senior earns FFA’s prestigious State Star


When State FFA Sentinel Laney Swiers read off the winner of this year’s State Star in Agriscience Research, she was able to do so from the stage of Austin High School’s Knowlton Auditorium.

There was a good reason for it.

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Swiers announced, through a live internet broadcast, that this year’s winner was Austin Public School’s own Braden Greibrok, who watched the announcement along with members of AHS’s FFA Club and FFA alumni.

After the announcement, state FFA officers bolted into the room to present Greibrok with his award.

“It’s a really big accomplishment that not everybody achieves,” a beaming Greibrok said after the presentation.

There’s only one winner of the State Star in the state. To win, a variety of criteria is taken into account, including a Supervised Ag Experience (SAE), performance in ag classes, and volunteering and leadership, both in school and outside of school.

“One of the highs is the diversity of ag and science that happens on the field and is explored in the classroom,” said Artha Jonassaint, National Southern Region Vice President out of Okeechobee, Florida, visiting the state as part of Minnesota’s state convention. “These students are the quintessence of everything we want our members to be.”

To win the award ,the person has to apply for it and then meet the criteria, including the SAE. Greibrok worked closely with advisors Nick Schiltz and Kim Schechinger.

In particular, Greibrok looked at two different hybrid corn varieties side-by-side in rows on his family’s farm. One of the hybrids was one dollar cheaper than the other. What he found in his approximately 50 hours of work was that the cheaper hybrid performed better, something he intends to follow up with this year as part of  personal research that will eventually be used in his agronomy studies when he attends South Dakota State University this fall.

“Agronomy, that’s where this project really comes in,” Greibrok said.

“It was a fun project to work with Braden on,” Schiltz said. “I have no doubts that Braden will move and exceed glowingly no matter which direction in which he goes.”

Minnesota State FFA President Ben Olander said Greibrok stands out because of the time he put into his project, a reflection of his caring in the subject at hand. He said it’s also representative of FFA in general.

“It’s a big process that happens across the state,” he said. “That’s why this is such a special award. I can tell with the hours Braden put into this and how the work of incredible individuals can come to life.”