MCW student named state FFA vice president

SHERBURN — Martin County West recently had 54 students attend the 90th Minnesota FFA Convention, an impressive number for a rural district. Two won State Proficiency Awards.

Carson Kahler was first in diversified crop production, second in fiber and oil crop production, and a participant in grain production entrepreneurship. Nic Potthoff placed second in turf grass management.

Kahler shared some information on how proficiency awards work.

“Basically if you have a job, or do work experience or are an entrepreneur, it’s a way of logging everything you do,” he said. “Then FFA has awards based on the work you do, the money you make and the services you provide. So if you have a really cool project and you’re making money, then you can turn it in to the FFA.

“For example, I won diversified crop production and that is farming more than one crop of grain. My family farms here in southern Minnesota in the Martin County area, and my grandpa helped me start farming when I was in seventh grade. He rented me about 10 acres of land, and since then I’ve been slowly increasing my land amount and making more decisions as I go along.

“So I’ve just been recording all my hours, all my expenses, all my income and sales, and I turned that in for my proficiency.”

Potthoff also received the honor of being elected as state FFA vice president. He described the interview process.

“All the applicants came on a Saturday morning at 8 a.m. and all day we had 10 rounds interviews,” he said. “We interviewed with ag teachers, agriculturalists and a student board of a nominated committee. During that, we just have to show who we are as people, because when you elect a state officer you can’t really elect on their knowledge or ability to put on a face, it’s about who we are as a person.

“It’s sort of surreal right now because I never really expected it to happen,” he said. “I’ve put my whole heart into it and it’s something that you work for your entire career and when you finally hear your name it’s like ‘Wow, they wanted me for another year.’

As far as his duties, Potthoff is easing into the role before summer arrives.

“I haven’t had a whole lot of commitments to take care of yet,” he said. “But during the summer we have a lot of camps and conferences, we have the State Fair and some county fairs, we’ll be at Farmfest and we’ll be in [Washington] D.C. for a week, and then we go on chapter visits during the year. It’s a lot of getting to know the members better and being out there as a sort of ambassador for the FFA.”

In addition to Kahler’s and Potthoff’s awards and election, five of MCW’s career development event teams placed in the top five in state and were recognized on stage.

“It’s an awesome achievement to see our school represented at the state level,” Potthoff said. “Seeing our students learn and achieve like that is really fulfilling.”

“All three of us [ag] advisors are incredibly proud,” said MCW ag teacher Stephanie Wolhuter. “Our kids have figured out that they need to put time and effort in to do well and they’re very willing to do so.”

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