By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN Recognized as an avid supporter of agricultural education and FFA, Kevin Dahlman of Cokato will soon have his name placed on the state’s FFA Hall of Fame with an official induction ceremony planned at the state convention in April.
“It’s a very humbling and flattering opportunity,” Dahlman said, who has been a coach for the Dassel-Cokato FFA’s parliamentary procedure team and the newly formed ag sales team.
Dahlman’s FFA career started at DC High School. After graduation, he received a degree in agricultural education, which qualified him to teach in the field, though never did.
Instead, Dahlman came back to the family farm though he maintained his involvement in the FFA program doing what he could to support agricultural education.
When asked why he feels education in the agricultural industry is so important, he replied, “If you like to wear clothing and you like to eat, you’re involved in agriculture.”
“It clearly prepares students for the future,” Dahlman said, adding that there’s so many opportunities that the agriculture curriculum can provide. He noted that it creates well-rounded students, developing skills in leadership and public speaking.
Dahlman also noted the number of jobs in the field creates great opportunities for students.
In 2000, Dahlman was involved in finding a new ag teacher following the retirement of Wayne Ahlbrecht. Dahlman, at the time, was serving on the school board.
In an effort to revitalize the FFA and agricultural education program at DC, Dahlman, along with Dave Ortquist (industrial arts teacher at the time) and then high school principal, Paul Thomas, set out to find a replacement.
One of their concerns was finding a qualified and motivated instructor who would be attracted to the Dassel-Cokato area, he noted.
Dahlman explained that they recruited from the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State University.
“That’s when we were able to get Seena Glessing,” he commented. Glessing has since left DC, and now teaches at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School in its ag department; and Eric Sawatzke is the current ag teacher at DC.
To get the FFA program jump-started, Dahlman said he began coaching the parliamentary procedure team and the FFA alumni booster group.
Though familiar with Roberts Rules of Order from school board the basis to the parliamentary procedure team Dahlman said he still had to “brush up” on the skills and become familiar with the competition.
Not only did he find parliamentary procedure to be fascinating, but he has also coached two state championship teams and five second-place teams.
Last year, Dahlman was also approached to coach an ag sales team, which will compete at the state convention in April.
What he likes most about coaching is, “working with kids,” Dahlman said. “They keep me young.”
He enjoys seeing their confidence rise as they learn the material.
Rebecca Moy commented on her parliamentary procedure’s coach: “Kevin is a great coach because he cares not only about the success of the team, but the success of the individuals building up the team and all of our futures. He is always there to help everyone and has a deep passion for FFA, along with people.”
In addition to coaching, Dahlman has been supportive of the FFA alumni program, which helps support the organization by raising funds. He also chaperones various events and assists the ag teacher.
At the state level, Dahlman is the governor’s appointee to the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council which helps support ag education in the state.
Cliff Vriez served with Dahlman on the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council and nominated him for the hall of fame. Vriez is also on the state FFA Hall of Fame.
Vriez said if could, he would’ve nominated both Kevin and his wife, Nancy, because he has seen them both “working their tails off” at the state convention, and enjoying it.
Not only did Vriez nominate Dahlman for his passion for FFA and ag education, but also for his determination and follow-through wherever he is involved. “He gets things done,” Vriez said.
Sawatzke said, “Kevin is as committed to the FFA as any alumni in the country.”
“Not a day goes by without Kevin doing something to support our organization,” he said, adding “Needless to say, we are extremely proud to have Kevin in our corner.”
Dahlman will officially be inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame during the state FFA convention April 27-29.
“I look at the names who are on it and I don’t measure up,” Dahlman said. “It proves that someone who has no talent, isn’t rich, is not smart, and isn’t good- looking, can still make a difference with some kids,” Dahlman said.