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Two Morris Area FFA students named State FFA Star finalists

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MORRIS, Minn. - Two Morris Area students are finalists for State FFA Star awards for their Supervised Agriculture Experiences in the Morris area. Junior Brooke Wente is a finalist in Agriscience for her work at AgReliant Genetics and senior Lloyd Lesmeister a finalist in Placement for his work at Wayne-n-Jean's Evergreens.

Star awards are given as part of the State FFA Degree Process in four different competitive areas - Agribusiness, Agriscience, Farmer and Placement.

To be eligible for the award, Wente and Lesmeister were first selected as Region Stars in their respective categories. The eight regional winners in each category are interviewed by members of the state board, and four finalists are chosen. The eventual winners in each category will be announced at the FFA State Convention in April.

"We feel honored that they chose us out of all the finalists," said Wente.

Wente has worked at AgReliant Genetics since 2010 when she was hired to work over the summer. At AgReliant, Wente works to help develop new breeds of corn by helping count, treat and harvest seeds.

When she was interviewed as a finalist, Wente showed the panel around the company and worked to explain her work and the procedures at the company.

"A lot of what we do has to do with the scientific method in creating new breeds of corn," said Wente.

"I like genetics, so I'm looking into going to college for something that has to do with that, so I could see a career in genetics. Maybe not corn genetics, but the stuff I've learned with definitely be able to be applied to my future careers," said Wente.

Lesmeister completed his Supervised Agricultural Experience working at his family's tree farm, Wayne-n-Jean's Evergreens, which opened just after Lesmeister was born - "I've been working there since I could walk," he said.

During his interview, Lesmeister explained everything he's learned about forestry while working on the farm, both harvesting evergreens for Christmas trees and moving in new trees.

"I really like Christmas time; that's when we get to communicate with customers and figure out how everything's been going," said Lesmeister. "We're selling them a Christmas tree, but a lot of them are customers that we've had move-in trees, so we get to talk about how the trees are going."

Lesmeister will be heading to North Dakota State University this fall where he plans to pursue his interest in cattle by studying animal science.