Melrose–The Melrose Area FFA Team had a great showing at the state convention April 22 to 24 at the University of Minnesota, with one team advancing to nationals this fall. 

The Small Animals team of Paul Pundsack, Breanna Dragseth, Erika Doetkott and Spencer Van Beck tied for first place with Mountain Lake FFA and will be the state representative at the National Convention in October. 

“They are our first nationally competing team and will compete in Indianapolis, Indiana, this October in the Vet Science CDE. Paul is the State Champion individually and Breanna is our third place individual, the highest two individual placings we have ever had,” said an excited Megan Seifert, FFA advisor. 

These students were among many who competed at the convention.  

Seifert explained students can attend state one of two ways. They can pick a Career Development Event and compete against other schools at Regions. If they are in the top two to five (it is different for each competition), they then qualify for state. Students can also apply for proficiencies as well as their State Degree, which requires lengthy applications and interviews. They receive those awards at the State Convention. 

Along with the Small Animals Team, other Melrose Area FFA students honored at state include the following: 

•Ag Communications team of Bryce Gruber, Elise Reller, Anna Arnzen and Kally Herdering received their second place state plaque at the State Convention. Their competition was held in March. 

•Horse Judging team of Dalton Herzog, Lexi Feldewerd and Kenzi Lytle, who placed 13th at state against 57 teams.

•Milk Quality team of Katie Maus, Casey Klein, Briana Maus and Victoria Blonigen, who placed 10th as a team out of 46 teams. Katie placed sixth individually out of 168 contestants.

•Meats Evaluation team of Julia Welle, Jenna Rademacher and Lexi Hanson, who placed 21st as a team out of 32 teams.

•Best Informed Greenhand team of Karlyann Boecker, Meghan Pundsack, Briana Maus and Ethan Harren placed 25th as a team.

• Paul Pundsack was a top 10 finalist for talent.

•Julia Welle and Paul Pundsack also received their State Degree, which is the highest degree they can receive at the state level. The process involves a lengthy application as well as an interview to receive this high honor. 

•Ashley Maus, a 2017 Melrose Area graduate, will be interviewing this month for her American Degree, which is the highest degree in FFA. Less than one percent of all members receive this honor. Pending the interview, she will receive her degree at National Convention in October. 

• FFA advisor Megan Seifert received the Honorary State Degree, a recognition awarded to individuals who have provided exceptional service to agriculture, agriculture education or FFA.   The National FFA Organization relies on the support of exceptional teachers, individuals and companies to provide life-changing experiences for its members. Each year, at the State FFA Convention those who have made outstanding contributions to FFA are honored with the Honorary State FFA Degree.

Seifert is very proud of the accomplishments of the FFA students.

“Not only did we have two students receive their state degrees but we had two teams place in the top five and a national qualifying team, which is a very successful year for Melrose FFA. To my knowledge, we have never had a two top three individuals or a nationally competing team,” she said.

She said students set goals when they first start practicing, “and it was so fun to see students and teams meet those goals through a lot of hard work and dedication!”

 “The pride these 19 students have for this organization and for the future of agriculture is astounding. I have a feeling with the leadership seen this year, we have only seen the start of what these students can do for our chapter and community,” Seifert concluded.