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KMS, Willmar, Morris Area FFAers earn national awards

INDIANAPOLIS — The 89th National FFA Convention and Expo was Oct. 19 to 22 in Indianapolis.

Brett Petersen and Elizabeth Wilts, both of the Kerkhoven Murdock Sunburg FFA Chapter, received major awards while teams from both the Willmar and Morris FFA chapters received silver emblems.

Brett Petersen

Peterson received the American Star in Agricultural Placement award. He has dreamed of farming ever since he was young. In sixth grade, he started working at the family farm near Murdock that incorporated in the 1970s. It has 6,200 acres of sugar beets, field corn, sweet corn, peas, alfalfa and soybeans. During high school, Petersen continued working at Peterson Farms Inc. and learned more and more about the business.

In ninth- and 10th-grades, he learned about preventative maintenance as well as how to repair equipment when it breaks down. In addition, he also became the primary operator of the sugar beet conveyor.

By his junior and senior years in high school, he began doing all jobs associated with production of sugar beets and also invested in his own shares of sugar beets.

Petersen enrolled in Ridgewater Community and Technical College for farm operations management.

He had an opportunity to buy into a partnership that would eventually assume ownership of PFI. Petersen plans for his role in the partnership to be that of a sugar beet specialist.

He also intends to return to Ridgewater this winter to study agribusiness.

Petersen is the son of Paula and Kyle Petersen. He is a member of the KMS FFA Chapter, led by advisor Christa Williamson.

Elizabeth Wilts

Wilts was one of the National Agricultural Proficiency winners announced on Oct. 21 during the sixth general session. Awards were given in 47 categories.

Wilts received her award in the Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production-Entrepreneurship/Placement category. She began her supervised agricultural experience in 2011 by renting 10 acres of land to grow a crop of soybeans.

In the five years, her production has quadrupled, and she's developed the skills to coordinate all aspects of the operation: financial planning, record keeping, machinery maintenance and more.

Wilts utilizes no-till methods in her soybean production.

Wilts is the daughter of Gina and Harmon Wilts. She is a member of the KMS FFA Chapter, led by advisor Christa Williamson.


Scott Folz, John Folz, Ryan Hennes and Marcus Peterson, members of the Willmar FFA chapter, participated in the Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event. The team received a silver emblem.

The competitive event that allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. Activities included in the event are a written exam, a team event, demonstration of problem-solving skills and hands-on performance activities. Areas of emphasis include environmental and natural resource systems, machinery and equipment systems, structural systems, energy systems and electrical systems.

Individually, Scott Folz and John Folz, received gold emblems and Hennes and Peterson received silver emblems.

Morris Area

Cassidy Fehr, Koral Tolifson, Briar Peterson and Taylor Staples, members of the Morris Area FFA chapter, participated in the Agricultural Sales Career Development Event. The team received a silver emblem.

The event includes actual sales presentations, a written exam, team sales situation.

Individually Fehr received a gold emblem, Tolifson and Peterson received silver emblems and Staples received a bronze emblem.