UM Crookston Students Attend CFFA National ATA And FFA Convention 2013

Eleven students from the University of Minnesota Crookston Collegiate FFA (UMC CFFA) 


attended the National Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA) Conclave and the National FFA Convention in late October and early November 2013.  The conferences were held in Louisville, Kentucky.  In additional to attending the conventions, most students also competed in various competitions.  

The A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award was awarded to the UMC CFFA at the Awards Banquet held on November 1.  The U of M Crookston was one of five colleges who received the "platinum" level, which is the highest level that can be achieved.  The award also came with a $100 dollar honorarium presented to the UMC CFFA.  UMC CFFA members competing in a wide variety of competitions plus student authorship of magazine or journal articles were key factors in receiving this award.  Senior Addie O'Neil, an agricultural education major from Redwood Falls, Minn., authored several articles for the Horse Digest during this past year.

Rebekah Landmark, a sophomore double majoring in animal science and agronomy from Montevideo, Minn., brought home a second place plaque in the ATA Essay contest.  Her award also included a $50 dollar honorarium.  This is only the second time that UMC has placed in the Essay competition.  Her essay topic was "With the changes in traditional agriculture and the innovative technologies of the present and future, describe the potential of SAE in school-based Agricultural Education. Use current agricultural research to support your position."

A Program of Excellence presentation was given to the entire body of ATA participants by CFFA President Amy Lee, a senior majoring in agricultural education from Mercer, N.D., and O'Neil.  They discussed the highlights of the 2012-2013 year for the U of M Crookston Collegiate FFA chapter.  Areas of professional development, fundraising, community service, and fellowship were the focal points.

Debate team members included Emil Waskow, a junior majoring in agricultural systems management from Hugo, Minn., and Landmark.   They debated "Should the FDA begin recognition of the difference between GMO and non-GMO foods and require labels to inform the consumer."

The Quiz Bowl team was made up of Lee, O'Neil, Senior Kayla Erickson, a double major in agricultural business and agricultural education from Scandia, Minn., and Justin Goodroad, a senior double majoring in agricultural business and agricultural education from Lindstrom, Minn.  Questions came from three areas including technical agriculture: plant science, professional education, and agricultural education organizations: National Young Farmer Educational Association and the National Association of Agricultural Educators

Other CFFA members attending the conferences, working the UMC booth, but not competing in contests included Aaron Bengtson, a freshman animal science major from Battle Lake, Minn., Marissa Roden, a freshman animal science major from Battle Lake, Minn., Betsy Johannsen, a sophomore animal science and natural resources double major from Hartland, Minn., Tiffany Muellner, a junior majoring in natural resources from Sauk Centre, Minn., and Ellen Dauphinais, a sophomore animal science major from Parkers Prairie, Minn.


The U of M, Crookston is home to the only Collegiate FFA chapter in the state of Minnesota and Professor Lyle Westrom serves as the group's advisor. The Collegiate FFA is part of the National FFA Organization, which also held its 2013 National Convention concurrently with the ATA Conclave in Louisville, Kentucky. A new record of over 62,998 FFA members attended the National FFA Convention. 

The A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership award, named in the memory of Aretas W. Nolan, former professor and head of agricultural education at the University of Illinois, recognizes agricultural education organizations for their pursuit of leadership, ensures professionalism, and improves communication between collegiate agricultural organizations. Nolan and his students conceptualized and started Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA), the National Professional Honorary Agricultural Education Fraternity, in 1921.

About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 579,678 student members as part of 7,570 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at, on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

In the photo: front row, left to right, are Emil Waskow, Tiffany Muellner, Betsy Johannsen, Kayla Erickson, Addie O'Neil, Amy Lee, and Marissa Roden. Back row:  Ellen Dauphinais, Lyle Westrom, Justin Goodroad, Rebekah Landmark, and Aaron Bengtson

Contact: Lyle Westrom, professor, Agricultural and Natural Resources, 218-281-8110 (; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communication, 218-281-8432 (