About a dozen Detroit Lakes FFA members recently received recognition from the Minnesota State FFA Association, earning their Minnesota State FFA Degrees, Agricultural Proficiency Awards, and in a few cases, both.

The state FFA degree is the highest degree offered by the Minnesota FFA Association, reserved for top members of the association who have demonstrated leadership, interpersonal and professional skills. To earn it, students must first earn a degree at the chapter level and then apply for a state degree. Requirements include: At least two years of systematic school instruction in agricultural education, plus substantial work and investments beyond that; demonstrated leadership ability (such as serving as a chairperson on a local FFA committee); participation in at least 10 different FFA activities; completion of at least 25 hours of community service; and plenty more.

Every year, the association selects regional and state Stars Over Minnesota from the pool of state degree recipients. This year, Alyssa Mitchell, of the Detroit Lakes FFA, was named the Region I Star in Production Placement. Stars receive extra recognition, such as through short videos posted to the state and local FFA's Facebook pages (see Mitchell's video HERE).

Once an FFA member earns a state degree, he or she can choose to work toward a coveted American FFA Degree after graduating from high school.

This year's state degree recipients from the Detroit Lakes FFA chapter include: Alyssa Mitchell, Johnna Swiers, Makenna Yliniemi, Matt Andresen, Adam Schouviller and Madison Myhre.

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Detroit Lakes chapter members who earned Agricultural Proficiency Awards include: Johnna Swiers, First Place Service Learning Proficiency; Makenna Yliniemi, First Place Outdoor Recreation Proficiency; Madison Myhre, Second Place Ag Services Proficiency; Tobias Muff, First Place Ag Mechanics Design and Fabrication Proficiency; Alyssa Mitchell, First Place Beef Production Proficiency and First Place Diversified Livestock Production Proficiency; Tori Johnson, First Place Equine Science Proficiency; Robert Blanchard, First Place Ag Sales Entrepreneurship Proficiency; Jenna Tollefson, Second Place Equine Science Proficiency; and Bayleigh Johnson, Third Place Equine Science Proficiency.

Proficiency awards are given to FFA chapter members who have developed specialized skills they can apply toward their future careers. Students can compete for proficiency awards in 47 areas ranging from Agricultural Communications to Wildlife Management.