Steeke, Muggli, awarded Star recognition at North Dakota state FFA convention |

Steeke, Muggli, awarded Star recognition at North Dakota state FFA convention

Ryan Muggli said his advisor, Mr. Hetle and his parents Tim and Andrea all inspired and helped him achieve the Star farmer award.

Before he earned his diploma, a young North Dakota Farmer had purchased a tractor, rented several hundred acres of farm ground and harvested and sold his own crops.

It’s no surprise that Ryan Muggli of rural Carson, North Dakota, was named the North Dakota FFA Star Farmer.

Muggli, who goes to school in Elgin, said he started farming several years ago, renting 210 acres to plant wheat. He then planted soybeans, followed by corn and sunflowers. Before he knew it, he was renting 790 acres of area farmground. While Ryan’s dad Tim trades him the use of his equipment for Ryan’s labor, the young man has already been able to acquire a tractor and header of his own.

“I started to get my own equipment. That way I don’t have to work for him so much,” he explained.

Muggli’s older brother Kurt was named the Star Farmer for North Dakota last year, and the two enjoy working together and marketing their crops as a team.

“It can be hard to sell your crops when they are in smaller quantities. It doesn’t make sense for us to each have our own bin. Sometimes we share a field, and then we market that crop 50/50,” he explained.

While he hasn’t gone backward yet, Muggli has already experienced challenges in the world of farming. One year the weather was dry, and his crop was subpar, but he collected crop insurance.

While he would have probably pursued farming even without FFA, Muggli said the projects he’s been involved in have helped push him to keep better records.

“You put in journal entries and keep track of details. It’s fun to see how you compare to other people.” The FFA online recordkeeping system helps calculate data for young farmers.

Muggli has also competed in Farm Business Management and Ag Mechanics. “They relate directly to farming. That’s been cool to do,” he said.

He plans to stay in the area and continue farming, probably on rented ground because land sales are high, he said.

In a year, Muggli will be eligible to apply for the National Star Farmer award. He can also wait two years before applying, which he will probably do. “The better and more records you have, the better it looks. You have more history to show.”

Each state selects just one Star Farmer each year. FFA members apply, showing the work they have done in production agriculture. In North Dakota, the top four are chosen for on-farm interviews with the state FFA adviser and others, and the winner is announced at the state FFA convention.

Muggli appreciates the support his parents Tim and Andrea have shown him as a young farmer. His sister Laura, parents and grandmother Mary will continue to run the farm as he transitions to overseeing his own operation.

Abbi Steeke

While some kids might be accused of overusing Google in their research efforts, Abbi Steeke does hers the old-fashioned way. The Scranton, North Dakota FFA member was named the state’s FFA Agri-Science Star, for her presentation which consisted of each of her science fair projects from the past six years.

Steeke, who farms and ranches with her family near Rhame, North Dakota, said that of the different concepts, the inter-related projects she worked on her sophomore and junior years were her favorites.

Her 10th grade year, Steeke studied different methods of synchronizing sheep for breeding.

While veterinarians often recommend 5 ccs of progesterone to synchronize heat, Steeke wanted to find out if ewes would respond as well to 2.5 ccs. Indeed, her findings showed that more ewes bred with a dose of 2.5 ccs as opposed to the recommended 5 ccs. At about $4.50 per cc, the savings would add up fast for a sheep producer synchronizing ewes.

For her 11th grade project, Steeke decided to see if other hormone therapies would work as well as Lutalyse – again, in an effort to determine if a more financially feasible option exists for synchronizing ewes. Normally, Steeke said, lutalyse is not recommended for use in sheep, but is used to synchronize cattle.

Steeke’s findings are as follows:

* 22 ewes were given lutalyse ($.73/per 2 ccs) – resulting in a 68 percent conception rate and the highest number of twins of the study.

• 22 ewes were given GNRH ($2.50 per 2 ccs) – resulting in a 32 percent conception rate

• 22 ewes were given progesterone (pg 600 at a cost of $7 per 2 ccs) – resulting in a 52 percent conception rate

• 22 ewes were given nothing, resulting in a 58 percent conception rate.

Steeke said she observed no negative side effects from any of the hormones.

Steeke’s other science projects throughout the years were:

7th grade – can goats be successfully be dewormed with natural remedies?

8th grade – how do tomatoes respond to different types of manure for fertilizer (cattle, sheep, horse and pig manure)

9th grade – How do wheat, corn and soybeans respond to different kinds of manure mixed with soil?

10th and 11th grades – sheep hormone studies

12th grade – a survey to better understand consumers’ knowledge of beef and different kinds of labels such as antibiotic free, all natural, etc.

Traditionally, the Star winner’s ag teacher speaks about the student on stage at the state convention as the awards are presented, said Steeke. That moment was especially sweet for Steeke, whose mom Misty is her ag teacher. “Mom and dad were both on stage,” she said. Steeke’s father Trevor taught agriculture before making the switch to a full time farmer and rancher.

Steeke will either attend the University of Minnesota Crookston or Colby Community College in Kansas and hopes to major in Animal Science with a focus on nutrition.

Keaton Nelson of Leeds was named the Agribusiness Star and Stuart Bower was chosen as the Agricultural Placement Star.

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