Jake Knutson earns national FFA honor

A United South Central FFA member won a national proficiency award at the National FFA Convention.

A United South Central FFA member won a national proficiency award at the National FFA Convention.

Jake J. Knutson, of Hartland, a freshman at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, is the National FFA Grain Production Placement Proficiency Award winner.

Knutson said he will always remember the excitement of being onstage with the three other finalists and the rush he felt when it was announced that he was the national winner.

It's a great honor, he said. It also gives him a sense of accomplishment in seeing his hard work pay off. His parents, Jim and Julie, both attended the convention and saw the award ceremony.

Knutson began his supervised agricultural experience when he was a sophomore and it has grown every year since. His SAE is grain production-placement.


When he started working for his father on the family farm, Knutson Farms, he did the low-skill jobs like running the tractor that chopped stalks. Now, he's moved up to the jobs that require more skill, like running the farm's grain facility.

"I do every job there is on the farm," Knutson said.

The family's farm includes rented and owned land where they raise corn and soybeans, plus run a small beef herd.

"He is a wonderful kid who works very hard on the family farm," said Dan Dylla, Knutson's FFA adviser.

Knutson credits Dylla for encouraging him to pursue the grain production SAE.

"It was just something my adviser wanted me to do, he knew I could succeed in this area," Knutson said. "Mr. Dylla is a great adviser, he's always been there pushing me … he doesn't settle for good enough, it has to be perfect."

Knutson wasn't the only United South Central FFA member to excel at the National FFA Convention. Tom Eilertson was a runner-up for Star Farmer and Dustin Dylla was second in the Diversified Horticulture - Entrepreneurship/Placement Proficiency area.

United South Central had six American FFA Degree recipients, the most of any chapter in Minnesota. The USC American degree recipients: Eilertson, Matthew J. Herman, William J. Huper, Jordan D. Mutschler, Nathan A. Sahr and Dylan L. Thisius.


At national convention on Oct. 20, Knutson gave a two minute presentation in front of judges and other finalists and then had a 15 minute individual interview. He also interviewed for a trip to Costa Rica in summer 2012 through the FFA. He, Dustin Dylla and Eilertson are qualified for the trip.

He's looking forward to the trip, saying it's a unique opportunity to learn about agriculture in Costa Rica and see how crops are grown in a different part of the world.

For now, he's focused on college where he's studying agricultural business with a minor in animal science. He plans to transfer to Iowa State to pursue a bachelor's degree.

Knutson also goes home every weekend to help on the farm. He has two older brothers, John and Jared, and one younger brother, Jed, who help on the farm. His older sister, Jorgen, isn't involved with the farm. His father is the only other family member with FFA experience.

Knutson thanked the USC community for its support of the school's FFA and agricultural education program.

"We have a really excellent ag program," Knutson said. "The community really supports us."

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