Oedekoven encourages FFA members to stay active in ag

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Farm Forum

A native of Sturgis and Sturgis Brown High School FFA chapter alum, Dustin Oedekoven delivered the keynote address at the 70th Annual Sturgis FFA Banquet on Tuesday, May 17.

Oedekoven graduated from SBHS in 1994, SDSU in 1998 and continued his education at Iowa State where he graduated with a degree in veterinarian medicine.

He serves as the South Dakota State Veterinarian and is the head of the Animal Industry Board since 2009. In March of 2016, Oedekoven was appointed to serve as the interim SD Secretary of Agriculture.

It was 21 years ago that Oedekoven gave his retiring president speech to the Sturgis chapter at the Fort Meade Banquet Hall and shared that he had a lot of found memories within the chapter.

Star Greenhand, Chapter President, State FFA Officer and American FFA degree in 1997 were some of the honors Oedekoven received.

He said that being a member of the Sturgis FFA shaped his career in agriculture and developed his interests in what he is doing today. Public speaking, parliamentary procedure, budget and record keeping and judging are just some of the life skills learned in FFA that has served him well.

“Range judging or livestock judging is an important skills learned and will help you in the future as a consumer” stated Oedekoven. He continue that It is so Important to get a broader exposure to see what else is done outside your sphere; get out and take advantage of the opportunities as it will broaden your horizon.

Oedekoven talked about opportunities for careers in agriculture as they are very important and stated there is a pretty bright future for careers in ag. He said that by 2050, the USDA Ag Research Center estimated that globally food production will need to increase by 70 percent. That means more food will need to be produced between now and 2050 than has been produced since the beginning of time.

Production Agriculture is going to become more technologically advanced and he said career opportunities are huge. Dairy processors, pulse processing, and integrated processors want to come to South Dakota so opportunities will be available here. Improving food nutrition is a wide open career opportunity and jobs in the future. There will be a need for scientists that will study foreign diseases, production ag, and ag communications will be careers with high demand markets in the future.

Oedekoven spoke to the graduating seniors and encouraged them to build on the things they have learned in FFA, pay it back, join the Alumni Association, and say thanks to those who have get you to this point, he said.

He continued encouraging the Greenhands to get and stayed involved as there is no end to the opportunities that are available, get on a team, run for an office and participate in any leadership training.

The Sturgis FFA Labor Auction was held with 10 members being auctioned off that raised $835 for the organization. Top selling member was Victor Jorae at $120.

FFA Greenhand awards were presented to 59 members with the Star Greenhand Awards going to Kordell Kuenzel, Vanessa Stein and Tyler Selting.

Chapter FFA Degrees were presented to 29 members with three star Chapter Award Winners: Bridger Gordon, Baylee Vollmer and Kaycee Szymanski.

The 2016-2017 Sturgis FFA Officers were announced at the closing of the 70th Annual FFA Banquet. Brett Monson, Advisor announced the new officers: Victor Jorae (Historian), Brian Doran (Treasurer), Seth Keszler (Chaplain) and Gordon Brider (Vice President)

Ryan Wilen (Secretary), Abby Anderson (Parliamentarian), Shealyn Bunch (Student Advisor) Kaycee Szymanski (Reporter), Baylee Vollmer (President) and Molli Hayes (Sentinel).