Dakota Farmer

South Dakota FFA members honoredSouth Dakota FFA members honored

Annual convention names National Chapter and State Star winners, along with new state officers.

Sarah McNaughton

May 12, 2023

2 Min Read
south dakota ffa national chapter winners
TOP HONORS: The McCook Central chapter was awarded the National Chapter Award during the 95th South Dakota FFA Convention.South Dakota FFA

FFA members from across South Dakota gathered at the state organization’s 95th convention in Brookings in April for competitions, philanthropy and networking. Over 5,000 students from 109 chapters make up South Dakota FFA.

The National Chapter Award is the highest honor an FFA chapter can receive and recognizes a chapter’s implementation of FFA’s mission and strategies. South Dakota’s top chapters have developed an active program of activities, conducted meaningful events and completed at least 15 activities — one for each of the five quality standards.

Superior chapters included Bereford, McCook Central, Brookings, Howard and Bridgewater-Emery, winning in the categories of growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Here are the rankings for the National Chapter Award:

  1. McCook Central

  2. Beresford

  3. Bridgewater-Emery

  4. Howard

  5. Brookings

First-place finisher McCook Central has 167 members, who helped clean properties after a derecho storm ravaged the community, provided food to residents in need and hosted an educational field event, where members could connect with local stakeholders. The members also secured funding for a hoop barn at the local fairgrounds to house 20 animals and provide hands-on opportunities for members who do not have access to their own livestock facilities. Their FFA advisors are Tracy Chase and Terry Rieckman.

Other honors awarded were the State FFA Stars. Winning individuals spent hours working on their projects while developing technical skills. Finalists were interviewed by a panel of judges. This year’s stars follow:

  • State Star Farmer. Landon Roling, McCook Central; FFA advisors Terry Rieckman and Tracy Chase

  • State Star in Agribusiness. Ashley Bjerke, Sioux Valley; FFA advisor Don Sutera

  • State Star in Ag Placement. Ella Haven, Northwestern Area; FFA advisor Noelle Swanson

  • State Star in Agri-Science. Mason Pulse, McCook Central; FFA advisors Terry Rieckman and Tracy Chase

STATE STAR: The 2023 South Dakota FFA State Star Farmer award went to Landon Roling of McCook Central. Roling is pictured with parents Ben and Jennifer, Lindsey Haskell of Farm Credit Services of America, and FFA advisors Terry Rieckman and Tracy Chase. (South Dakota FFA)

Each star receives a $400 cash award, sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America, the Dan Streff Family and Glacial Lakes Energy LLC.

New officers chosen

The convention also names the six state officers for the coming year. The new officers will travel across the state presenting speeches, facilitating workshops, hosting camps and conferences, and conducting business for the South Dakota FFA Association. The officers for 2023-24 are:

  • President Alyssa Feather, Wilmot

  • Vice President Dustin Kolb, Belle Fourche

  • Secretary Raesa Zelinsky, Brookings

  • Treasurer Gretta Larson, Lake Preston

  • Reporter Gabrielle Rebelein, Volga

  • Sentinel Emily Robbins, Elkton

NEW OFFICERS: The 2023-24 state officer team includes President Alyssa Feather (left), Vice President Dustin Kolb, Secretary Raesa Zelinsky, Treasurer Gretta Larson, Reporter Gabrielle Rebelein and Sentinel Emily Robbins. (South Dakota FFA)

These officers will also represent South Dakota during the National FFA Convention.

South Dakota FFA contributed to this article.

About the Author(s)

Sarah McNaughton

Editor, Dakota Farmer, Farm Progress

Sarah McNaughton is a graduate of North Dakota State University, with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture communications, along with minors in animal science and Extension education. She is working on completing her master’s degree in Extension education and youth development, also at NDSU. In her undergraduate program, she discovered a love for the agriculture industry and the people who work in it through her courses and involvement in professional and student organizations.

After graduating college, Sarah worked at KFGO Radio out of Fargo, N.D., as a farm and ranch reporter. She covered agriculture and agribusiness news for North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Most recently she was a 4-H Extension agent in Cass County, N.D., teaching, coordinating and facilitating youth programming in various project areas.

She is involved in agriculture in both her professional and personal life, serving on the executive board for North Dakota Agri-Women, and as a member in American Agri-Women, Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority Alumni and Professional Women in Agri-business. As a life-long 4-H’er, she is a regular volunteer for North Dakota 4-H programs and events.

In her free time, she is an avid backpacker and hiker, enjoys running with her cattle dog Ripley, and can be found most summer weekends at rodeos around the Midwest.

Sarah is originally from Grand Forks, N.D., and currently resides in Fargo.

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