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FFA Students ‘Lead Out Loud’

By Trista Gropp
University Communications

DEC. 1, 2009 | University of Wisconsin- River Falls students are heeding the theme of the recent National FFA Convention, “Lead Out Loud,” as two students earned the national recognition from prestigious awards and others received the American FFA Degree.

UWRF students went to Indianapolis Oct. 21-24 to participate in convention activities, contests and award presentations.

Amy Lynn Robak (pictured, center), a senior conservation major from Oak Park, Minn., was named the 2009 American Star in Agriscience, while Jordan Hanson, a sophomore animal science-equine emphasis major from Chatfield, Minn., won an Agri-Entrepreneurship Award.

Each year, the national FFA organization selects 16 finalists (four per award) for the organization’s top awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

Star awards recognize students who have developed outstanding agricultural skill and competency through their career development programs, demonstrated outstanding management skills, and earned the American FFA Degree.

Robak’s interest in conservation and agronomy led her to an award-winning Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project as a Star in Agriscience finalist. As part of her project, Robak worked at the Benton County Soil and Water Conservation Office, assisting with farmers concerned with environmental and natural resource issues on their land.

Robak says, “My nutrient management research project influences me enough to pursue a minor in land use planning focusing on agriculture preservation.”

At the convention, a panel of judges interviewed Robak. Then, at a ceremony she was named the winner and received a plaque and $4,000 prize.

The Agri-Entrepreneurship Awards honor FFA members who have recognized a market opportunity that was overlooked by others and conceived a plan to pursue that opportunity.

Hanson began his business endeavors at a young age with a pony. Since first becoming involved with horses, he has grown his interest into a business, JH Horse Company.

Hanson travels to horse sales, purchasing as many horses as he can handle and then puts extra training into them to make them more valuable. Since coming to UWRF, he has relocated his business to the River Falls area. He is one of 10 students from across the country that received the National Agri-Entrepreneurship Award and a $1,000 prize.

Numerous UWRF students also received the American FFA Degree, which is the highest degree awarded by the national FFA organization and recognizes students’ demonstrated leadership abilities and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing and service programs.

Students who received the honor and gold American FFA Degree key are (listed by state, name, city, class rank and major):


Christopher Sanford - Parma, sophomore, dairy science


Jessi Beucler - Faribault, sophomore, modern language

Jason Brian Keck - Owatonna, freshman, crop and soil science

Nathan Laska - Winona, sophomore, agricultural education

Michelle S. Meyer - Caledonia, junior, conservation

Amy Lynn Robak - Oak Park, junior, conservation

Peter Thome - Adams, junior, agricultural education

Seth Wier - Lake Elmo, junior agricultural engineering tech


Kellie Behnke - Clintonville, sophomore, agricultural business

Jordana Beyer - Weyauwega, junior, biotechnology

Ruth Bohnhoff - Plymouth, freshman, horticulture

Amanda Boyea - De Pere, sophomore, animal science

Bobbi Christenson - Amery, junior, agricultural education

Zachery Czech - Boyd, junior, agricultural business

Riley Ebert - Brillion, sophomore, animal science

Trista Gropp - Spencer, junior, marketing communications- ag emphasis

Rosemary Gudex - Campbellsport, freshman, agricultural education

Joshua Gunderson - Manawa, junior, agricultural education

Amanda Haase - Somerset, junior, agricultural education

Jenn Krultz - Greenwood, sophomore, dairy science

Emily Lezpona - Holmen, sophomore, agricultural education

Gregory Logterman - Fairchild, junior, agricultural business

Jason Mathre - Bloomington, junior, agricultural studies

Ramanda Maves - Scandinavia, sophomore, horticulture

Andy Moravec - Bear Creek, junior, agricultural engineering tech

Alex Patten - Boyd, sophomore, agricultural business

Jared Stillman - Weyauwega, sophomore, animal science

Hannah Stuttgen - Spencer, junior, agricultural studies

Andrya Whitten - Edgerton, sophomore, conservation


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