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Meet our Team

Minnesota FFA Foundation's Board of Trustees are comprised of business and industry professionals from across Minnesota.  All who come together voluntarily to support one cause: engaging partners to build strong Agricultural Education programs across Minnesota.  Supporting Minnesota's youth, one student at a time.

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Message from Board Chair Velde

"Be the Change you wish to see in the World"   -Gandhi

Greetings Minnesota FFA Supporters!


Thank you for stopping by!  FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of student across Minnesota.  The MN Foundation is committed to making the FFA experience available to all students regardless of financial need.  With your support we can all promote and enhance premier leadership, personal growth and career success for Minnesota youth in agricultural education. 


These are life-changing programs that we desire all students to have access.  In planning your giving, I hope you will consider an investment in MN FFA members.  


There are multiple ways to give to FFA.  You can find them all here on the MN FFA Foundation website. Thank you for being the change we wish to see in the world!


Val Velde, Board Chair MN FFA Foundation

Regional Customer Operations Manager, Land O’Lakes

Meet our Board of Trustees

Val Velde

Why Val Volunteers >


As an FFA member I received an FFA Foundation scholarship at a time that I needed that support.  Today I can serve on the board to raise funds for the next generation.  There are students with financial needs in MN.  Our state foundation is a powerful force to help students achieve their FFA dreams and prepare themselves for amazing career success!"   -Velde

Land O'Lakes, Purina Animal Nutrition
Regional Customer Operations Manager
Board Chair:
Staci Martin

Why I serve on the board>


"FFA is one of the premier leadership organizations available for young adults. Joining the board was an easy decision. Having the opportunity to support FFA by being part of the Foundation is an honor."  -Martin

Director of Government Affairs
Patrice Bailey

Why I Choose to Support >


I choose to support Minnesota FFA Foundation because I believe that all students should know about Agriculture and where their food comes from. I choose to serve on the Board of Trustees to elevate why Agriculture is important through out the state."   - Bailey

Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Assistant Commissioner
Emily Matejka

How I am making a difference >

Minnesota FFA Association
State FFA President
Kyle Petersen

Why Kyle supports FFA >

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I support the Minnesota FFA Foundation because it is an organization that gives back to the youth, builds leadership skills and promotes young people to become productive citizens!"   -Petersen

Petersen Farms, Inc
Clint Smith

Why I Choose to Support >

Rockford High School
Agricultural Educator
Juleah Tolosky

What the FFA Foundation means >

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"The opportunities provided by Minnesota FFA have serious value for students. The FFA Foundation is an essential partner in making sure those opportunities are within reach no matter where a student comes from."   -Tolosky

Minnesota FFA Association
Executive Director
Lara Durben

Why Durben is a supporter >

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"I feel strongly that we all
benefit from the life-long leadership skills and career development the FFA organization provides to students. Serving on the Minnesota FFA Foundation Board of Trustees is a natural fit for me and I’m committed to sharing my passion for agriculture and the opportunities it provides; putting my career experience to good use; and ensuring our state’s agriculture teachers and FFA student have what they need to succeed. When our young leaders are nurtured, our world becomes a better place for it."  -Durben

Empowered Events LLC
Pat Dingels

Why I Choose to Support >

Redwood Area Development Corporation,
Redwood Area Community Foundation

Executive Director
Dr. Francis Homans

Why I Serve >

University of Minnesota Agriculture Education, Communications & Marketing
Professor and Head

"The Minnesota FFA Foundation supports the Minnesota FFA and, by doing so, supports students across Minnesota. I am proud to serve on the Executive Board of Trustees as a representative of Agricultural Education at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences as we work together to keep Minnesota's agricultural sector strong."


Paula Mohr

Why I Choose to Support >

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The Farmer Magazine / Farm Progress / Informa PLC 

"I support the MN FFA

Foundation because I believe in agricultural education and efforts to expose student learners to ag-related careers. FFA is the ‘icing on the cake’ for ag students, allowing them the opportunity to delve deeper as individuals and grow as future leaders who will contribute to their communities."


Dr. Zane Sheehan

About my commitment to FFA >

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Minnesota Department of Education

State Supervisor of Agricultural Education; AFNR Program Specialist, Minnesota FFA State Advisor and Board Chair

I am committed to the
FFA Foundation because I
personally know the difference FFA makes in the lives of students; I would not be the person I am today without it—and FFA would not be the organization it is without the Foundation. I am on the board as the State Supervisor of Ag Ed and FFA State Advisor at the Minnesota Department of Education, but choose to serve to keep the partnership between our teachers/advisors, students, sponsors, and supporters strong.  


Jasmine Brett Stringer

Why I Choose to Support >

Carpe Diem with Jasmine
Mat Vaupel

Why I Choose to Support >

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Vaupel Farms
Owner and Operator
Jean Johnson

Why Johnson gives >


As part of my giving this year I have invested in the MN FFA Foundation Legacy club. This program raises funds to support and ensure the growth and development of new FFA chapters across the state. I can’t wait to see how these new clubs develop and grow."   - Johnson

AgCountry Farm Credit Services
Marketing Communications Consultant
Paul C. Aarsvold

Why I Choose to Support >

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"I choose to support the Minnesota FFA Foundation because of all the good the Foundation does for Minnesota Agriculture Education including the MN FFA.  I have seen firsthand the positive impact that the Foundation has had on our Teachers and Students.  We are very fortunate to have such a great partner that supports all areas of Minnesota Agriculture Education!"  -Aarsvold

Minnesota Association of
Agricultural Educators

Past President
Mark Jirik

Why Jirik is a supporter >

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"I support the MN FFA Foundation because our communities are in need of leadership.  FFA is the premier leadership program for young people from all backgrounds in the country.  The MN FFA Foundation provides the financial support to make that happen.."          -  Jirik

Northern Crops Insitute
Natasha Mortenson

Why Natasha is a supporter >

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I serve through the FFA Foundation Board of Trustees because I truly believe that our belief and support of our youth in agriculture is the driver of our future in agriculture.  Working through the FFA Foundation touches every program in the state of Minnesota.  Just as it states in the FFA Creed, "American Agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part of that inspiring task."   -Mortenson

Riverview, LLP
Community Relations
Jason Schwantz

Why I Choose to Support >

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CHS, Inc
Senior Vice President of Refined Fuels

"I believe that FFA has presented many opportunities for myself and others by preparing us for what life can throw at us.  It is because of how I was raised and being a FFA member that I am where I am today in life.  I give back, because I want to see others succeed in life and I believe that Agriculture and the FFA provide a solid foundation for that challenge." 


Julie Tesch

Why Julie is a donor >

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I support the MN FFA Foundation because I have witnessed first-hand the impact that their dollars make in the lives of students and teachers.  I know that my donations are being used to help develop the next generation of leaders in agriculture and across America.  It is an honor to be a donor."   - Tesch

Center for Rural Policy & Development
President & CEO

Meet our Executive Sponsors Board

Kevin Paap

Why I Choose to Support >

Minnesota Farm Bureau
Executive Sponsors Board Chair
Mark Davis

Why I Choose to Support >

Davisco Food International
Jeff Grev

Why I Choose to Support >

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Hormel Foods Corporation
Rod Hebrink

Why I Choose to Support >

Compeer Financial
President & CEO
Dan Kohls

Why I Choose to Support >

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Dave Ladd

Why I Choose to Support >

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RDL & Associates, LLC

"I support the MN FFA Foundation because I believe in agricultural education and efforts to expose student learners to ag-related careers. FFA is the ‘icing on the cake’ for ag students, allowing them the opportunity delve deeper as individuals and grow as future leaders who will contribute to their communities."


Gary Sloan

Why I Choose to Support >

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BMO Harris Bank
Bill Stevens

Why I Choose to Support >

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Relationship Management Specialist

"I support the MN FFA Foundation because I believe in agricultural education and efforts to expose student learners to ag-related careers. FFA is the ‘icing on the cake’ for ag students, allowing them the opportunity delve deeper as individuals and grow as future leaders who will contribute to their communities."