More than 4,000 Minnesota FFA members, teachers, adult supporters and sponsors will gather April 24-26 for the first time in nearly three years, resuming a tradition that was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the theme “Thrive,” Minnesota FFA will celebrate the accomplishments of students who have excelled in leadership, career exploration, science, community involvement and agriculture experiences.
The organization’s 93rd convention is taking place during a benchmark year of 15,000 student members, the highest number since the 1980s. Nineteen FFA chapters chartered over the past three years are indicative of the growth Minnesota FFA experienced, even during the challenging 2020 and 2021 school years.
“FFA has provided myself and my team with an abundance of moments where we were at our best,” says Emily Matejka, the 2021-2022 Minnesota FFA president, from Martin County West. “As we shaped our year and influence, we wanted members to remember that FFA continues to provide these thriving moments for all members.”
New locations, activities
General sessions, workshops, state competition Career Development Event and Leadership Development Event contests, and selection of the 2022-23 Minnesota FFA state officers will take place at a combination of the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, the 3M Arena at Mariucci-University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
"In 2022, many of our students will be experiencing this event in person for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Matejka says. “State FFA officers, teachers and partners are eager to provide opportunities to help these students not only find belonging and success, but also discover the traditions and culture of FFA in a way they haven't been able to in a virtual world."
Star finalists selected
Fifteen students have been selected as FFA Star finalists with their Supervised Agricultural Experiences. The winners will be named the evening of April 25.
- Selected as finalists for Star Farmer are: Addison Hillman, Brainerd FFA; Taylor Lacek, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton FFA; Jessica Willegal, GFW Pioneer Express FFA; and Isaac Larry Beck, Hayfield FFA.
- Selected as finalists for Star in Production Placement are: Andrew Caughey, Brainerd FFA; Blake Krienke, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA; Kyle Hagen, Glencoe-Silver Lake FFA; and Sophie Lynn Kyllonen, Sleepy Eye FFA.
- Selected as finalists for Star in AgriBusiness are: Catie Erickson, Fertile-Beltrami FFA; William Benjamin Bugbee, Paynesville FFA; Caldyn Huper, United South Central FFA; and Matthew Schell, Lewiston-Altura FFA.
- Selected as finalists for Star in Agriscience are: Colton Converse, Staples-Motley FFA; Katherine Miller, Stillwater FFA; and Lance Thomas Sawatzky, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg FFA.
Support now includes license plate
Support for the convention is provided by more than 150 individuals and companies through the Minnesota FFA Foundation. Contributors will be honored during the convention, and many are also part of a Career Connections event for students from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 25 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Coliseum. The foundation also sponsors a 30-minute streaming pre-show for each general session.
In February, the foundation helped to introduce a Minnesota license plate honoring agriculture, with a design inspired by nearly 100 sketches from FFA and 4-H members. Both FFA and 4-H benefit from the new plate, which enables a $20 contribution to the organization when purchased.
The Minnesota FFA Convention is offered in partnership among the Minnesota FFA Association, the Minnesota FFA Foundation and the Minnesota FFA Alumni. Throughout the convention, content is available on the Minnesota FFA website; the Minnesota FFA YouTube Channel; on the organization’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages; and on the convention app, which will be live just before the convention begins. Find the link on the Minnesota FFA website.
About Minnesota FFA
The Minnesota FFA Association represents more than 15,500 members and more than 200 high school chapters across the state. Agricultural education engages students through hands-on learning in the classroom, work-based learning opportunities known as Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, and FFA activities.