Two Tracy Area High School FFA members have been recognized in a big way for their accomplishments.
Cayden Buysse, a freshman at South Dakota State University, and Sawyer Otto, a senior at TAHS, have both been selected as FFA All-Stars by WNAX.
The two were featured in a recent publication of WNAX’s 2020 FFA All-Star magazine.
Buysse and Otto were recognized because of their strong leadership in FFA and the role they play in the community, TAHS ag teacher Elizabeth Johnson said.
• Buysse is a fifth-generation farmer who began working on the family farm with his father, Chad, and grandfather, Larry, at a young age. At age 13, Buysse started his own farming operation by renting 30 acres of land from his grandfather; his operation now includes 60 acres.
“The FFA All Star award means a great deal to me,” Buysse said. “I’ve been very lucky to have been given all the opportunities I have by my grandfather and my dad. All of my hard work, time and money invested has paid off and I’m extremely grateful.”
Buysse said winning the award a second straight year makes it that much greater of an honor.
“I was thrilled last year to be chosen as an FFA All Star, but now that I have been awarded it for the second time it makes me feel like I am doing something right and maybe, just maybe, I am somewhat good at what I do.”
Buysse has been a member of the Tracy Area FFA chapter for seven years, holding numerous officer positions. He is involved in Farm Business Management CDE, as well as Crops CDE, where he competed at state six times.
He was also selected for the DEKALB Award for three straight years.
Buysse has also excelled in his three proficiencies: Grain Production (state winner in 2017); Fiber and Oil Crop Production (national finalist in 2018); and Diversified Crop Entrepreneurship (placed in state in 2019). He received his State Degree as a junior in 2018.
Buysse is majoring in Agriculture Systems Technology and Precision Ag, with minors in Agronomy and Ag Business. He also sings in SDSU’s Concert Choir, and the all-male choral group, the Statesmen.
Buysse is the son of Chad and Stacie Buysse of Tracy.
“I have not earned these FFA All Star Awards alone, and I want to give credit to all who have helped me achieve a few of my many dreams,” Buysse said, “I’d like to thank my grandparents, parents, Paul Skoglund for seeing my potential and helping me get started and Elizabeth Johnson for pushing me to be my very best and helping me every step of the way. Lastly, the many community members that have supported and helped me in numerous ways over the past years — I appreciate you all more than you know.”
• Otto grew up on the family farm, which consists of a corn/soybean operation and beef cow/calf operation. He has been helping his father, Troy, and grandfather, Bill, on the family farm since he was a child. He has been a member of the Tracy Area FFA for six years and competes on the General Livestock Judging team where he has competed at the state level for many years. In 2019, he was the ninth overall individual at the Minnesota State FFA General Livestock Judging Contest. The year before, he received third overall at the Tri-Valley Invite General Livestock Judging contest. He received his Greenhand FFA Degree as a freshman, FFA Chapter Degree the next year and as a junior he received the Minnesota FFA State Degree Award.
In 2018 and 2019, Otto received Fourth Overall Market Animal at the State Fair with his market steer.
“I am very honored and blessed to be in a category with some of the top FFA contributors in Minnesota, not to mention with some of the top FFA contributors from other states,” Otto said.
Otto said he filled out the application for the award, not expecting to win since he wasn’t an FFA officer.
“I heard it on the radio one morning while doing chores, and it was due in a few days, so being rushed I felt my chances were probably hurt. But all in all it worked out, and I am super blessed to be selected …”
Otto plans to attend college at Concordia University of Wisconsin in Mequon, WI, to study Pharmacy and continue his athletic career on the football field.
Otto is the son of Troy and Jen Otto of Walnut Grove.
I am very proud of both Cayden and Sawyer,” Johnson said. “This is a huge accomplishment for being chosen as one of the top five in Minnesota. They not only work hard in the classroom but also are a positive leaders for our community. Tracy FFA is very lucky to have both of them as members.”