Editor’s note: Scott Dingels, an RVHS graduate, was recently recognized for the successes he has experienced in FFA. What follows is a Q&A with Dingels.

How long have you been showing sheep through FFA?

So far, I have shown each year since I became eligible in ninth grade.

How does one qualify to show at the state FFA show?

The state FFA show does not have a qualifying process like what is in place by Minnesota State 4-H. There is an online registration process that all exhibitors fill out.

What success did you experience this year?

This year I was able to win champion market lamb as well as champion yearling commercial ewe.

Other highlights over the years include:

• Reserve champion crossbred market lamb, American Royal Stock Show in Kansas City  Reserve champion market lamb, Minnesota state fair 4-H show

• Various division champions and reserves, Minnesota state fair 4-H and FFA shows

• Champion sheep premier exhibitor, grand champion all-species premier exhibitor, Ak-Sar-Ben Stock Show and Rodeo in Omaha

• Reserve champion sheep premier exhibitor, (twice), National Western Stock Show in Denver

• Third overall sheep premier exhibitor, National Western Stock Show in Denver 

How does an FFA show compare to 4-H? What is different? The same?

Minnesota 4-H is the only state where an exhibitor is eligible to bring one animal and that animal must first qualify at a county level. This, among other factors, makes the FFA weekend a more relaxed and easy-going environment. Instead of only a single animal, exhibitors can register multiple animals and across multiple species if they so choose. All of your attention, time and potential for success doesn’t rest on that one animal. In Minnesota 4-H, if that animal were to get sick or die prior to the show, you are left with a limited number of options.

How long have you been involved in FFA?

I have been an FFA member since I started ninth grade.

As a college student how long can you continue in FFA? How much longer are you allowed to be part of the program?

In the majority of FFA programs, you can start as a freshman in high school and have the option to continue as an active member up until you are 21.

What recognition did you receive this year and what does it mean for you to receive it?

I was named as one of the four finalists in the agricultural sales - entrepreneurship proficiency area. Applicants from across the country first compete at their respective regional and state levels before being selected and sent on to the national level. Following a review of the applications, a final four are chosen for an in person interview to take place during the National FFA Convention. After all students have been interviewed, the committee must select a winner of that proficiency area award.