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Fairmont grad Becker earns FFA distinction

Lance Becker

Lance Becker, a 2018 graduate of Fairmont High School, recently received the American FFA Degree at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

The degree is the highest level of membership a student can obtain in FFA. Fewer than 1 percent of all FFA members earn the award.

Fairmont ag instructor and FFA adviser Amber Seibert explained that in order to attain the degree, a student must have graduated at least a year prior to receiving the award; completed at least three years of agricultural education at the high school level; earned and productively invested a minimum of $7,500 (or more than 2,250 unpaid hours) into his/her Supervised Agricultural Experience project; graduated high school with at least a “C” average; and completed a minimum of 50 community service hours.

“In Fairmont’s nearly 65 years history, only eight FFA members have achieved this distinction, and Lance will be only the second in the eight years since the chapter was re-started in 2012,” Seibert noted.

Becker attends Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he is studying crop production.

He has been involved in agriculture for many and joined FFA in eighth grade.

“My year was a little different,” he explained. “Typically, you start as a freshman, but they offered it for us in eighth grade so I jumped on it and was involved all the way through.”

During his five years in FFA in high school, Becker held the position of chapter vice president his junior year and president his senior year. He was also a regional officer.

Becker explained that for his Supervised Agriculture Experience project, he worked on his family’s farm, LB Pork Inc.

What makes this story special is the fact that Becker is part of a legacy. His grandfather, Larry, also received the American FFA Degree as a Fairmont FFA member in 1966, and his sister, Larissa, received the award in 2017, making the Beckers three of Fairmont’s eight recipients.

When asked how it feels to have two grandchildren follow him and receive the American FFA Degree, Larry Becker said he felt honored and proud.

“They worked hard to get it and they deserve it,” he said. “Hopefully we have more from the family get it down the line.”

Lance Becker reflected on how being named a recipient of the prestigious award feels.

“Every time I walked into the FFA classroom, I would see my grandpa’s picture on the wall,” he said. “Now I’ll be up there next to him and my sister.

“I remember finally getting started in FFA and I put so much work into my SAE and kept track of all my volunteer hours and kept everything in order. I’ve gone to the national convention several times, but this year I got to walk across the stage and it was a great way to be rewarded.”

As for what’s next, Becker plans to finish up at Kirkwood and then go to a university, where he will study agronomy. He still has a year left of FFA, so he also could run for state office if he chooses.

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