Herald JournalHerald Journal, Feb. 10, 2003

The future of modern agriculture is in good hands

By Lynda Jensen

No one can tell four graduates from Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted that agriculture has a dim future ­ because they're too busy shining their own light on modern agriculture.

The foursome, Tony Bakeberg, Tiffany Olson, and brothers Tony and Pat Lorentz, obtained their American degrees in FFA last fall, which is the top award given by FFA. Fewer than one percent of FFA members obtain their American degrees.

The foursome are busy making their own paths into modern agriculture, pursuing careers such as precision agriculture and computer networking.

The FFA program enjoys a great deal of popularity at HLWW, with many of seniors taking part in it.

In fact, the fingerprints of FFA students are all over the three communities they serve, whether it's helping the fire department by welding a cage to make a grass rig more efficient, cleaning up flood debris, or doing landscaping for the community.

The students are advised by agriculture instructor Jim Weninger.

Here is a profile of each student:

Pat Lorentz

Lorentz is a national honor society student, and wishes to return home to work at Cokato Equipment as a service technician.

He is currently attending the North Dakota State College of Science for John Deere ag tech.

Lorentz was very active in FFA, serving as chapter president in 2000-01. He graduated in 2001.

He will graduate from North Dakota State College of Science in May of 2003 with an associates degree in John Deere ag tech

He was a Minnesota State FFA degree recipient and attended the Washington Leadership Contest.

Lorentz obtained second place in a team at the university for "post ag secondary" in the ag machinery technician contest.

Lorentz will be competing in the national PAS ag machinery service technician contest in Indianapolis, Indiana March 5 through 8.

Tony Bakeberg

Bakeberg plans to return to his family's dairy farm, being the only one of the foursome with such plans.

In the meantime, he is attending Ridgewater College in Willmar for farm operations and management, with a dairy emphasis.

Bakeberg is the son of George and Kay, who own a dairy farm southeast of Howard Lake. He will be the fourth generation of farmers in his family.

There are 65 cows and 90 steers on feed at the Bakeberg farm, Tony said.

Is he worried about the recent sales of dairy herds across the area, because of low milk prices?

"No," he said. "I don't really worry about it."

His parents give a firm foundation to Bakeberg's dream of staying on the farm, since they have operated successfully for decades.

He served as second FFA vice president and secretary,as well as taking part in numerous alumni activities, such as the alumni auction, fun night and the annual banquet, he said.

Bakeberg also did a great deal of work with community service projects such as installing brick sidewalks in front of the school, Weninger said.

Bakeberg attended the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, DC, as well as state and national conventions.

Bakeberg worked hard for the annual fundraising corn drive and fruit sales.

He earned a state proficiency in dairy for his supervised agricultural experience.

Tony Lorentz

The oldest of the foursome, Tony graduated in 2000 and is attending the University of Minnesota in Crookston for ag systems management and precision ag.

He is active in student senate at the university.

He may work for a cooperative following this, although he is undecided so far, he said.

The highlight of his FFA career was obtaining the American degree, he said

Lorentz worked for The Country Store in Howard Lake for two years, and Centra Sota for three.

Tiffany Olson

Also a national honor society student, Olson is attending Ridgewater College in Hutchinson for computer networking with a minor in business.

Previously, she worked at The County Store in Howard Lake for four years.

She received recognition for raising specialty animals that included a variety of exotic birds as well as pheasants.

Other activities she was involved in were knowledge bowl, track, basketball, and the corn drive for Camp Courage.

The highlight of FFA for her was the conventions, she said. She's been in FFA since 1997.

Her parents are Jerry and Joanie Olson of Howard Lake.

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