A Star Farmer is born

TRACY AREA HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR LAUREN VERLINDE has been named the FFA Region VI Star Farmer. Submitted photo

Lauren Verlinde receives major state recognition

By Per Peterson

What do Lauren Verlinde, Eric Fultz and Tom Hook have in common, other than matriculating at Tracy Area High School?

Give up?

All three are Star Farmers.

Verlinde, a senior at TAHS, was recently selected as this year’s Region VI Star Farmer — an award bestowed upon students who have developed outstanding agricultural skills through their Supervised Agriculture Experience and have earned the FFA State Degree. The Region Star Farmer is awarded to an FFA member in each of eight regions who demonstrates the top production agriculture supervised agricultural experience in the region. The member must demonstrate outstanding achievement, active FFA participation and an exemplary scholastic record.

Four students from the eight region qualifiers will advance to state, and the winner will be announced at the State FFA Convention in late April, which will likely be held virtually.

Verlinde said earning the recognition is very rewarding and offers validation for all the work she’s put in over the years.

“I feel like everybody has seen all the work that I’ve put in and I’m getting rewarded for all the work and dedication that I’ve shown for not only the livestock industry, but agriculture and FFA,” Lauren said.

Verlinde’s SAE is beef production. She raises crossbred beef cattle and shows at the local, state and national level. She has had plenty of success, including showing the 5th place overall market steer at the MN State FFA Show in 2019. She assists in all parts of raising cattle along with her parents, Marla and Ryan, on their cattle operation south of Tracy.

In an SAE program, students apply what they are learning in the classroom. A student designs a program to gain hands-on experiences and develop skills in agricultural career areas which interest them. Students are supervised by agricultural education teachers in cooperation with parents, employers and other adults who assist them in the development and achievement of their education and career goals.

“We have a proficiency application, which pretty much explains what our essay is, what we do, our finances behind it, and then if your proficiency application is good enough, you have an interview,” Lauren said. “I had an interview with five ag teachers, and each one of them covered a specific section — one covered finances, one covered leadership, etcetera.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.