FFA officers take lessons learned out to the world | News

Founded in 1928 by a group of young farmers whose aim was to prepare future generations to feed the nation’s growing population, FFA has evolved into an organization that prepares youth for success in agriculture and leadership. Minnesota currently has 13,894 FFA members and 218 agricultural education programs across the state.

The pride in FFA is evident as I once again interviewed former FFA state officers from 25 years ago. Their paths in life have taken them down many different roads but one thing remains constant and that is the gratitude they all have in the FFA organization. They each sought leadership opportunities and those experiences continue to enrich their lives to this day.

Cory Buysse, Tyson Hill, Laura (Klein) Richardson, Aaron Stegemann, Cindy Mulert and Patricia Norman will be recognized at the Minnesota FFA convention which takes place April 24-26.

Also happening at the convention is the acknowledgment of the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame class of 2022. According to the Minnesota FFA Alumni Association, this year’s eight inductees will join 222 members who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the past 17 years. The Hall of Fame is a joint effort between the Minnesota FFA Association, Foundation and Alumni.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are:

● Pat Dingels, Redwood Falls, Minn.

● Charles Krause, Buffalo, Minn.

● Becky Meyer, Vadnais Heights, Minn.

● Kerry Lindgren, Staples, Minn.

● Ronald Sommers, Northfield, Minn.

● Dave Swanson, Hawley, Minn.

● Erman Ueland, Fertile, Minn.

● Stan Vander Kooi, Buffalo, Minn.

One of the inductees is my husband Seth’s grandpa, Erman Ueland. While I don’t know the other 2022 Hall of Fame members, I would assume that they have a similar drive and unending enthusiasm for agricultural education that Erman has had all these years. This organization — like so many — is only successful thanks to the hard work and dedication of those who are willing to serve.

I was thrilled when I found out that Erman was named a Hall of Fame inductee as the passion he had throughout the years for agriculture and education is impressive. He never tires when it comes to enriching the lives of students.

Erman was the vocational ag instructor for 13 years (1955-1968) at Fertile High School. In addition to teaching high school students, he also taught young adult and adult farmer classes. Erman was instrumental in the development of the Adult Farm Management Program at Fertile. It was during his time at FHS that 38 FFA members received their State Farmer degrees. One student became a Star State Farmer and three received American Farmer degrees.

After his time in Fertile, Erman became an instructor at the University of Minnesota Crookston. He was the director of the cooperative education program, the ag department chair and the head of the agricultural business program. He was also co-chairman of UMC’s FFA program. At UMC Erman taught approximately 25 courses to thousands of students.

The depth of Erman’s work over the years — in both ag education and FFA — is remarkable and is just one example of the amazing people who have been part of the FFA organization throughout the years.

It only takes one person to make a difference in someone’s life. Over the years of interviewing former state FFA officers, I have heard them recount stories of advisors who provided the mentorship that was vital to their growth and development. We need more people in this world like Pat, Charles, Becky Meyer, Kerry, Ronald, Dave, Erman and Stan as their time and talents made a positive impact on the Minnesota FFA organization.

Congratulations to the Class of 2022 FFA Hall of Fame!

Our FFA issue offers a glimpse into the lives of the former state FFA officers from 25 years ago. They have moved all over the country from Alaska to Texas but pride in the FFA organization remains steadfast for them all. A big thank you to Laura (Klein) Richardson, Aaron Stegemann, Tyson Hill, Cory Buysse, Cindy (Mulert) Birchmeier and Patricia (Norman) Carlson for taking time out of their busy schedules to chat about those FFA times and what they have been up to since those days.

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