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Young people receive Iowa FFA Degrees

By Jean Caspers-Simmet
simmet@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 05/20/2013 9:34 AM

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AMES, Iowa — Eight young people from Osage were among 639 members to receive Iowa FFA Degrees at the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference.

The Iowa FFA Degree is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a member by the state association.

Senior Colin Barker, son of Kim and Gordon Barker, worked at his parents' business National Poultry Equipment Co. helping build poultry machines as his Supervised Agricultural Experience.

"It's cool to get rewarded for something you work hard on," Barker said.

Next year he will attend Iowa State University to study mechanical engineering.

Chapter vice president Jared Tolliver did beef production placement for his SAE. He works for neighbor Brad Balsley's cattle business helping raise beef cows and calves. He also will attend ISU next year majoring in ag studies.

"FFA has taught me how to communicate and open myself up to networking with people," Tolliver said. "I've learned lifelong skills."

His parents are Tim and Cindy Tolliver.

Jesse Klaes' SAE was beef production entrepreneurship. He raised and sold beef feeder cattle. His parents are Dave and Cindy Klaes.

"FFA taught me a lot about leadership," Jesse said. "We get together to do a lot of events. The great thing is that we do a lot with agriculture and farming. Not everyone is from the farming community but FFA educates everyone."

Next year Jesse will study ag systems technology at ISU.

Junior Laura Klaes is chapter president. Her parents are Mary and Curt Klaes. For her SAE she owns a concession stand which she runs during baseball season. She sells candy, hamburgers and beverages.

"The ladies who had been doing it wanted to quit so my sister Elizabeth took over," Laura said. "I worked for her and when she graduated I took over. This is my second year."

Laura said she's excited to receive her Iowa FFA Degree "because we work hard for it."

Senior and chapter treasurer Matt Mack was in beef entrepreneurship for his SAE.

"I bought feeder calves, raised them up and sold them," Mack said. "It's going good. I've learned a lot about care and management."

Mack will attend North Iowa Area Community College in the fall and then transfer to ISU. His parents are Bob and Carol Mack.

Senior Derek Counsell is chapter historian. For his SAE he works with his parents, Don and Shelly Counsell, in their sheep operation. He raises and sells club lambs.

Counsell will attend NIACC and then transfer to ISU.

Senior Lakota Kirst is chapter secretary. For his SAE he works for his parents John and Cindy Kirst.

"I help feed cattle and do chores," Kirst said.

Kirst said it's "pretty cool" to receive his Iowa FFA Degree.

He will attend NIACC and then transfer to ISU.

"FFA has been really fun," Kirst said. "I've done a lot of things I never thought I'd do."

Senior and chapter sentinel Tyler Havel worked summers for Pioneer detasseling and roguing corn for his SAE and he showed hogs at the county fair.

His parents are Troy and Kori Havel. He grew up in town but his grandparents farm.

"It feels good to be getting my Iowa FFA Degree," Havel said. "I've been working for a long time. This is the first time that all the classmates at Osage got their degrees."

Havel said he's developed leadership and communication skills through FFA.

"It's opened so many doors," he said.

He will attend ISU in the fall to major in exercise science and pre-physical therapy.