Sleepy Eye FFA has first regional summer ag tour

On Monday, June 20, 19 FFA members visited different businesses around the area to learn about their roles in agriculture. This event is a smaller version of the Summer Ag Tour where members travel to a different state and tour companies and businesses there.

This experience was good to show and teach about the businesses and agriculture career opportunities that are closer to home that some people may not have heard about. It was also great to learn about the companies that support the Sleepy Eye FFA chapter.

The day started at Cunningham Seed Farm south of Sleepy Eye. FFA members were shown around the office and warehouses, and were able to see the work employees do every day. They learned how the business operates on an average day, all the different types of seed and other products that are sold there and how technology is really shaping the farming industry.

The next tour was at Christensen Farms. The members got to tour the feed mill and see all the processes that go into making pig feed. Afterwards, the FFA members learned how Christensen Farms started and all the different job opportunities that are available.

For their third stop, they traveled to POET Biorefining in Lake Crystal. Members learned about all the steps that corn goes through to turn into ethanol that can be used to fuel motor vehicles. The FFAers also learned about the by-products of ethanol production, the differences between them and their importance. They toured the plant and saw people at work in this business. This tour was very interesting since many members didn’t know a lot about ethanol production and its value to Minnesota agriculture.

The last tour was at New Sweden Dairy in Nicollet. FFA members got to see an operating rotary or cow carousel and learned where the milk from these particular Jersey cows goes. They were also allowed to see the newborn calves. This dairy is very unique because it works with the University of Minnesota and actually teaches classes to vet students that are going to be large animal veterinarians. Those students are able to learn and work hands-on with the cows, which gives them valuable skills and experiences for their careers.

The day ended at the Wow Zone in Mankato where members played laser tag, went bowling and just had fun. It was a great way to end the day.

This event was a success and a great learning experience for the FFA members. They learned a lot about ag businesses in the region while having a lot of fun. The tours opened up some possible job and career pathways for the members. Hopefully it is the start of a new tradition for the Sleepy Eye FFA chapter.

Source: Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch