FFA members and chapters from around the region had a good showing at the National FFA Convention. Here’s a look at some prominent winners:

Cole Ketterling's new office at the Farm Credit Services of Mandan branch in Wishek, N.D., includes a photo of the 2017-18 North Dakota FFA officer team, on which Ketterling was president. Ketterling is one of four finalists for the American Star Farmer Award, to be announced Oct. 28, 2020. (Jenny Schlecht / Agweek)
Cole Ketterling's new office at the Farm Credit Services of Mandan branch in Wishek, N.D., includes a photo of the 2017-18 North Dakota FFA officer team, on which Ketterling was president. Ketterling is one of four finalists for the American Star Farmer Award, to be announced Oct. 28, 2020. (Jenny Schlecht / Agweek)
Cole Ketterling: Ketterling of Wishek, N.D., FFA was named American Star Farmer. Ketterling was one of four nominees for the award. The Star awards are FFA’s highest honors. Ketterling won on the strength of his supervised agriculture experience in beef cattle, which he has combined with a crop rotation of corn, soybeans, spring wheat and sunflowers. He recently graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in ag economics and works as an ag loan officer at Wishek’s office of Farm Credit Services of Mandan. He is still farming, with the base of what he started in his SAE.

“For now, this is where I’m starting,” Ketterling said. “I’m getting a little off-the-farm income to help start farming [more] because, economically, it’s not the best time to be farming full time right out of college.”

Hunter Eide: Eide, of Gettysburg, S.D., FFA received the proficiency award for agriscience research-animal systems. He conducted four research projects built around state fisheries production challenges. He investigated how iodine affects the mortality of salmon eggs. “My SAE consisted of four agri-science research projects testing the late fertilization of landlocked, fall chinook salmon that are collected right here in the Missouri River,” Eide explained. His research was published in 2018 and 2019 and implemented by the fisheries industry in 2019.

Paige Stuber: Stuber, of the Academy for Sciences & Agriculture FFA Chapter in Minnesota, received the proficiency award in agriscience research-integrated systems. She developed her first research project using milk in ninth grade, when she compared casin bioplastic engineered from cow’s and goat’s milk and determined that cow’s milk provided the greatest yield. For another project, she evaluated consumers’ level of confusion and preference regarding the marketing of dairy milk and nondairy milk alternatives.

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Nathan Randy Kroeger: Kroeger, of Carroll Area FFA Chapter in Iowa, received the proficiency award for diversified crop production-placement. He works for his family’s crop farm and grain hauling business. He is tasked with completing all corn and soybean crop production jobs, from planting and harvesting to tillage and application of fertilizer, fungicide, insecticide, and pesticide. The operation consists of 1,800 acres of soybeans and 6,000 acres of corn. They utilize a continuous flow grain dryer system and 36 grain bins to store more than one million bushels.

Ashlyn Mohling: Mohling, of Adams Central FFA Chapter in Nebraska, received the proficiency award in equine science-entrepreneurship. She has been caring for and riding horses since a young age, and she cares for five horses for her equine project, ensuring both their health and safety so they can perform. Throughout the year, she shows her horses at local, state and breed show levels in all different disciplines from Western to English classes. Mohling also teaches special needs children how to brush a horse, interact with a horse, and employs therapeutic riding for children age 8 to 18.

Tyler Thomas Gardner: Gardner of the Pittsville, Wis., FFA, received the proficiency award in fruit production-entrepreneurship/placement. He works for his family’s cranberry production operation. He is involved in cultivar selection, planting, nutrition, harvesting, and distribution of the crop. The family owns more than 1,700 acres of cranberry beds and manages an additional 10,000 acres of supported land. Gardner also helps lead insect, weed, and disease management for the operation.

Emily Makos: Makos, of Juda, Wis., FFA, received the proficiency award in small animal production and care-entrepreneurship/placement. She began her supervised agricultural experience when she was 8 years old, receiving her first rabbit that has served as the foundation of her current herd. Her rabbit project has grown from one breed and three rabbits to more than 200 rabbits, including New Zealands, Californians, Polish, and Mini Rex. She has attended the American Rabbit Breeders Association rabbit show and learned from others in the field.

Andrew Scott Mehus: Mehus, of the Cochrane-Fountain City FFA Chapter in Wisconsin, received the proficiency award in specialty animal production-entrepreneurship/placement. He helps manage a closed herd of 200 head of Rocky Mountain Elk. The elk are raised primarily for the mineral content found in their bulls’ growing antlers, including glucosamine sulfate, collagen type II, and chondroitin sulfate. These minerals help the human body build new cells faster and repair and strengthen muscles. Bulls too old to produce are slaughtered, producing lean meat low in cholesterol and that is heart-healthy.

Danika Gordon and Matea Gordon: The Gordons, of Sturgis, S.D., FFA, were the social science, division 6 winners of the National FFA Agriscience Fair. The National FFA Agriscience Fair recognizes students who gain real-world, hands-on experiences in agricultural enterprises. Students use scientific principles and emerging technologies to solve complex problems related to agriculture, food and natural resources. The agriscience fair is for middle and high school students. Students compete in one of six categories in the agriscience fair and under one of the six divisions – either individually or in a team.