Emma Friauf bottle feeds a calf on Loren and Laura Olson’s dairy farm near Hutchinson, Minn. Friauf submitted her experiences and accomplishments on the farm as her SAE project in FFA and received Star Production Placement at the 2019 Minnesota State FFA Convention. 
PHOTO SUBMITTED
Emma Friauf bottle feeds a calf on Loren and Laura Olson’s dairy farm near Hutchinson, Minn. Friauf submitted her experiences and accomplishments on the farm as her SAE project in FFA and received Star Production Placement at the 2019 Minnesota State FFA Convention. PHOTO SUBMITTED
    HUTCHINSON, Minn. - Emma Friauf has used her experiences as a farmhand at Raylore Farm to develop an award winning FFA project.
    Friauf was named the 2019 recipient of Star in Production Placement award April 29 at the Minnesota State FFA Convention in Minneapolis.
    “It was crazy,” said Friauf about winning. “When I found out, so did thousands of Minnesota FFA students. I was in shock.”
    For the past six years, Friauf has worked for Loren and Laura Olson on their dairy farm near Hutchinson, Minn. Friauf grew up on a hobby farm, but was introduced to dairy through the Olsons, who employed her father, Wayne Friauf, as a young man.
    “I fell in love with dairy,” said Friauf about her first time working at Raylore Farm.
    During her time on the dairy, Friauf has learned new responsibilities from shaking straw and cleaning water cups to managing milking shifts and developing high quality show cattle.
    As Friauf’s responsibilities on the farm grew and she entered high school, she joined FFA and kept track of everything she did on the farm, from paychecks and time cards to experiences and responsibilities.
    With encouragement from her FFA advisors, Scott Marshall and Steven Lammers, and the Olsons, Friauf submitted her dairy project as a Supervised Agricultural Experience.
    The SAE program began in 2011, with a work-based learning philosophy for students in a supervised environment.
    Not only was Friauf’s work experience part of her SAE, she has also raised high quality show cattle she has shown at the state fair.
    “Over summers I kept track of how much I worked with show cattle and the awards I won through FFA and 4-H,” Friauf said.
    Some of the animals she has worked with have been on the farm as long as she has. In 2016, she was able to take her favorite cow, Laffy, to the state fair for FFA and earned grand champion in her show. She took another favorite animal to the fair in 2018. There, her cow, Emma, won reserve grand champion and best udder in the show.
    These accomplishments were a large part of the Star application process, and ultimately helped Friauf achieve this honor.
    Friauf said she remembers the application process and thinking it would be an accomplishment to make it to the top four in the state; however, she was also hesitant to get her hopes up.
    “As I was filling out my application, in the back of my head I was thinking it’d be insane to win, but I was just going to give it my best shot and see what happened,” she said. “I knew I could do it.”
    The process of the application took time to complete.
    “First you have to win the regional level, which included a paper application, financial worksheets, essay questions and a face-to-face interview. Then, you have to give an on-farm tour of your project,” Friauf said.
    Friauf advanced from the regional level to state, where she went through a similar process. This time, however, there was more focus on the on-farm interview.
    Afterwards, Friauf was named a finalist in the state for Star in Production Placement.
    There are four categories in which an FFA student can achieve star placement: production placement, farmer, agribusiness and agriscience. Within these four categories, four finalists were chosen and announced before the convention. At the convention, the winners were named.
    “It was very exciting,” she said. “But, then I had to wait. I found out I was a finalist in early April and didn’t find out I won until the state convention April 29.”
    Friauf was quick to say this accomplishment was not earned on her own; she had many people to thank.
    “I’d have to start with my dad,” she said. “If it weren’t for him introducing me to the Olson family, I would’ve never known dairy cows. He introduced me to the first stepping stone on the path of it all.”
    She is also grateful for the support of the Olsons.
    “They really took me in and helped guide me along the path of dairy and continuing to find my way and my interests,” Friauf said. “They shined the light and opened the door for me to find dairy and what my true interests are in the dairy industry.”
    Friauf’s FFA advisors also helped her earn this award.
    “They helped me figure everything out and were with me every step of the way,” she said. “It was the first time they had a Star applicant as well, so we all learned it together.”
    Friauf said FFA has given her opportunities she never would have explored otherwise.
    “If there’s any student out there who’s hesitant about joining FFA or doesn’t know what it is, just ask someone,” she said. “If your interests lie in agriculture, FFA is somewhere you should be. It gives you opportunities and opens doors for you to grow as a person, helps you learn leadership and communication skills and can teach you a lot of life lessons you might not learn without joining.”
    Friauf plans to continue her agricultural education by attending South Dakota State University in the fall and studying dairy production. She hopes to work with Minnesota dairy farmers upon graduation.