MFL MarMac honored at state FFA convention

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MFL MarMac freshman Mackenzy Ruff met Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill when she was recognized as the state’s 15,000th FFA member. (Submitted photos)

Skylar Moser sang in the FFA Chorus at convention. She had to go through an extensive application process and it was an honor to be selected.

Derek Larson (left), Braxsten Jones, Macie Weigand and Eric Walz competed in the Farm Business Management Test.

Elizabeth Herzmann (left) and Cassidy Penrod were MFL MarMac's voting delegates and helped select this year's state officers.

Ella Hanson and Logan Brown took the Greenhand Test, which challenged them to answer 100 questions about FFA.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

MFL MarMac earned special recognition at this year’s Iowa FFA Convention, held April 22-24 in Ames, as student Mackenzy Ruff was honored in front of thousands of attendees as the state’s 15,000th FFA member.

“The state’s been trying to hit [the 15,000 mark] the last few years,” said MFL MarMac’s agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Sarah Wille. “It was random luck that she was submitted into the state roster, that Mackenzy Ruff from MFL MarMac was the one to do it. It’s pretty exciting.”

Ruff, who’s a freshman at the high school, was recognized on stage during the convention’s first session. She got to meet Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill, Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen and Joe Coletti, interim dean of ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“I was nervous because I knew I’d have to be on stage,” she said, “but I was happy. Everyone was really nice and assured me.”

Ruff most enjoyed getting to speak with the ISU officials.

“I connected with them about coming to Iowa State for college,” she said. “They want to take me on a tour and help with my interests.”

Ruff’s future goals include becoming a veterinarian.

Wille was proud of her student’s honor.

“I’m happy it happened to her,” she remarked. “She’s a good student and a good leader.”

Over the remainder of the convention, Ruff became a bit of a celebrity, after being recognized by some of her fellow attendees.

She had plenty of activities to keep her busy. Ruff was among 12 MFL MarMac students who attended the convention, accompanied by Wille and Leslie Henkes.

Students had to apply and select an activity or contest to participate in so they could attend, Wille explained. For example, Skylar Moser sang in the FFA Chorus, an opportunity that included an extensive application process. Derek Larson, Braxsten Jones, Macie Weigand and Eric Walz competed in the Farm Business Management Test, while Ella Hanson and Logan Brown took the Greenhand Test, which challenged them to answer 100 questions about FFA. Elizabeth Herzmann and Cassidy Penrod were MFL MarMac’s voting delegates and helped choose this year’s state officers.

The students watched some of the other contests and the state FFA creed speakers, noting all the ways they could become even more involved, Wille said.

They also toured ISU’s Jack Trice Stadium, learning about the college’s turf grass management degree, and visited the BioCentury Research Farm.

“It was very cool to see the new stuff,” Ruff shared. “There was a whole bunch of research equipment that hasn’t even been on the market.”

Another stop included ISU’s Ag 450 Farm, which Wille noted is the only student-run farm in the country.

A career fair opened students’ eyes to potential college and career options.

“There was a lot of information there,” Ruff said, “a whole bunch of colleges and companies you could interact with.”

Wille is glad her students could have the convention experience.

“It’s a cool experience since we live so far away,” she said. “It’s nice to share a different part of Iowa.”

“I think the students are really excited for FFA next year,” she added. “It was a good way to end the school year, even though we have a lot of activities coming up this summer.”

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