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Published February 08, 2011, 10:54 AM

Post-secondary Agriculture Students organization builds agribusiness links

MINOT, N.D. — When you think ag student organizations, FFA is the big one, but there is another: the Post-secondary Agriculture Students organization.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

MINOT, N.D. — When you think ag student organizations, FFA is the big one, but there is another: the Post-secondary Agriculture Students organization.

Trenton Bruner of Drake, N.D., president of the PAS organization at Bismarck (N.D.) State College, was among about 80 members attending the state convention in Minot, N.D. Post-secondary institutions in Wahpeton, Williston, Dickinson and North Dakota State University were represented.

“The thing that PAS does differently than FFA is that it helps relate college students to the industry professionals — helps you seek a job in the industry,” he says.

FFA is more known for its leadership development.

Bruner grew up on the Bruner Angus Ranch, operated by his father, Blaine. He has an older brother, Travis, who has a computer degree and works for Bobcat in Bismarck. The two travel weekly to the ranch to help with farm and livestock work. A younger brother, Ty still is in high school, and Trenton says he enjoys getting back to watch him in sports.

“Every weekend, I’m home.” he says.

When he’s done with his associate’s degree at BSC, Bruner expects to pursue an agricultural economics degree at North Dakota State University in Fargo. Ultimately, he’d like to go back and farm with his father.

At the KMOT Ag Expo, Bruner entered the PAS organization’s competition in ag sales. He won his division and was elected secretary of the state organization. He put in a day with Dorothy Orts of Oriska, N.D., in her Vita Ferm sales booth. He worked through the afternoon, learning about her products, and then gave a sales pitch to judges who circulated around the show.

Vita Ferm helps with the digestibility of nutrients in rumens.

“It’s going to save money in the long-run because you’re feeding about 20 percent less to your animals. The mineral bill is definitely going to pay off,” Bruner says, giving a sales pitch that helped him win the day’s competition.

Orts says the products include vitamins and trace minerals, but the main thing is AmaFerm, a direct-fed microbial that makes digestion of fiber more complete.

“It’s like a fertilizer in the rumen,” Orts explains.

A “rumen fungi” grows into the feed fiber like roots grow into the ground, following pathways and cracking the fiber to release the nutrition she says. The fungi and bacteria secretes enzymes that break down the feed.

“All of the feed that is otherwise left on the ground (as manure) is now available,” she says, noting that the phenomenon has been verified by NDSU research.

Aaron Anderson is adviser for the state organization. He also is the state adviser for the FFA. Anderson says the national FFA organization has about 500,000 while the national PAS organization has about 1,800. There are about 150 PAS members in North Dakota.

Information: www2.edutech.nodak.edu/ndpas.

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