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Award winners

May 19, 2010
Stories by Jodelle Greiner

Lucan's Plaetz named Outstanding Student by fellow classmates at Ridgewater in Willmar

Stephanie Plaetz, daughter of Alphonse and Kathryn Plaetz of Lucan, was voted the Farm Operation and Management Outstanding Student for 2009-10 by her classmates in the Ridgewater College-Willmar Campus Agriculture Department.

She received the award at a banquet on April 6.

"Surprised, but it was a honor and a privilege," Plaetz said. "At the banquet, I was kind of shocked, but happy."

About 60 students and staff voted on the award, she said.

She's done a lot to earn it. She competed at state Post-secondary Agricultural Student competitions, going to state last year.

"Made National, but didn't go," Plaetz said.

She competed at state this year where her four-member team took first and advanced to Nationals.

"The team took first and I got third individually," Plaetz said.

She participated in Fall Field Day, "which is where the second year students present to the first years something they learned the first year," she explained. "My team took second in that. Mine was about dry cows, which is a rest period where you don't milk them."

The award was a nice way to wrap up her college career.

"We got out of school in April, but didn't graduate until May 14," she said, due to a spring internship, "that's why you get out early."

Even though she's done with school, Plaetz is still busy since she bought 50 head of registered Holstein dairy cows and rents a facility to hold them.

"Get up at 4 o'clock in the morning," she said. "Takes a hour and a half to milk them."

In addition to her cows, Plaetz rents nine acres from her parents for corn silage and helps her dad with the farming and his herd of dairy heifers.

In spite of the twice daily milking routine, Plaetz plans to make dairy cattle her career.

"Probably be at this place for five years, until the cows are paid off," then she plans to buy a place and "hopefully increase to 80 (head).

"It's just in the blood," she said of her career choice. "I grew up on a dairy farm, love working with cows and animals, and I like being outdoors."

Tyler Stahl earns college bowl, speech honors

Tyler Stahl of Marshall received two awards at a banquet for the Ridgewater College-Willmar Campus Agriculture Department on April 6.

He had earned a second place in Impromptu Speaking and a first place in College Bowl Team earlier this year at a competition at Southwest Minnesota State University and advanced to national competition in March, but didn't receive the awards until the banquet.

"I knew we'd won first (at SMSU). The competition was in front of everyone," he said.

His team answered questions about "random agricultural facts" and had to beat other teams with the answers.

"The second place was a surprise," Stahl said. "I didn't think I'd done that well."

Stahl had not competed in speech while attending Marshall High School, from which he graduated in 2009, but he is thinking of continuing in the activity.

"Maybe next year I'll do the same competition again, we'll see," he said.

He's thinking about it because it's a good fit for his chosen career.

"I'm gonna need it because I'm gonna be a teacher," he said.

He's got one more year to go at Ridgewater, then he plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota "to complete my degree in agriculture education."



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