Kevin Hansen inducted into FFA Hall of Fame

Mike Milbrandt
Kevin Hansen was recently inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame.

Kevin Hansen, of Montevideo, has been inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame. Hansen was among nine individuals in this year’s Hall of Fame group, and they join 185 members that have been inducted over the past 16 years.

Hansen’s involvement in FFA began when he was a kid growing up on his parents’ farm near Tyler. “I joined FFA when I was a ninth grader. Being raised on a farm naturally drew me to FFA,” he said.

Hansen said that he had older cousins who went through FFA, as well as many friends and classmates. “I was Chapter Officer for two years in high school, and I received my state degree when I was a junior. My high school advisor became State Ag Teacher President around that time,” he said.

Hansen himself went on to become State Ag Teacher President back in the mid 1990s. “It’s interesting how you get interested in something, then keep following it through your life,” he observed. “It creates a career path for you.”

After high school, Hansen spent two years at Worthington Community College, and then transferred to South Dakota State University, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Science/Ag degree.

After graduating from SDSU, Hansen jumped right into teaching. “I started teaching at Marietta,” he said. “I was there for a year and a half when one day I got a call from the Montevideo School District. At that time, I got calls from Skip Hein, who was leading the school, and Lynn Steenblock. They invited me over for an interview and I ended up getting the ag teaching job here at the high school!”

Hansen moved to Montevideo in 1979, and continued to teach for the district through the 2000 school year when Ridgewater College hired him to be a business management instructor. “I did 13 years there before I retired in 2013,” said Hansen.

Although he considers himself retired, the word doesn’t exactly fit into his life. “I own our family farm near Tyler, along with my brother. I’ve got two brothers I farm with, as well as three nephews. Together, we farm about 1,700 acres,” said Hansen.

Hansen also continues to do work in farm management. “A neat thing that goes back to the time I taught at Ridgewater is that I still work with many of my former students, helping them with balance sheets, record keeping, and cash flow,” he said. “I work with about fifty farmers in a general area from Montevideo to Madison.”

Over the years, Hansen has steadfastly stayed connected with FFA. In addition to helping out local FFA contest teams, he is still involved at the state level. “For the past 15 years,” he said, “I’ve been on a team with two other guys that interview 16 FFA kids for the FFA Stars Awards.

“Each year at the end of March we put on about 1,500 miles in four days to conduct interviews at businesses or on the farm. We interview the top State Degree individuals in two categories: Star Farmer and Star Businessman. We also pick the State Final Four in each category, and also choose the winners.”

Maintaining that connection with FFA has been important to Hansen. “I really enjoy that a lot. We get to look at a lot of different programs. We get to see how they are run, as well as see the teachers and kids in their element, as far as their projects go,” he said.

In order to be considered for nomination into the State FFA Hall of Fame, a candidate first has to be nominated. Hansen said: “The person who nominated me had been the State FFA Advisor since 1997. He filled out the application, and with help from my wife and daughters, submitted it.”

A selection committee consisting of FFA members, alumni, agricultural educators, and foundation representatives selected the final inductees. Steve Olson, co-chair of the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame Committee, said: “We were looking for individuals who have been influential and supportive of Minnesota FFA, and who have demonstrated a high level of service and long-standing commitment to agriculture, agribusiness, and/or education in agriculture.”

There is no doubt that Hansen fit the criteria for inclusion in the FFA Hall of Fame. Among his many accomplishments in a career that has spanned a little over four decades, there are some that stand out for Hansen.

“Being a successful FFA Advisor and an active FFA member is one. Success as an FFA Advisor only comes with the involvement, dedication, and success of FFA members. Seeing them earn their degrees, participate in contests, become leaders, and use this participation to become productive members of society is a huge award in itself.”

Hansen was also selected for State and NAAE Region 3 Teacher of the Year, Outstanding State Post/FBM Program, and Outstanding State Secondary Program of the Year. “These recognitions are all shared with colleagues, students, and family. My family has been as much responsible for these awards as anyone. Being a successful Ag Educator can’t be done alone,” said Hansen.

In addition, Hansen was also MAAE president. “Being president of MAAE allowed me to work at the state level to enhance and further agricultural education,” he said.

He was a member of the Chippewa County Fair Board for 30 years, and also served as director and chairman of the Co-op Credit Union.

Through all that he has done over the course of his career, Hansen’s commitment to FFA has been rock solid, and he is optimistic about the future role of FFA. “I think kids are still interested in FFA. The numbers are really strong across the state, as well as across the nation,” he said. “Is agriculture different? Yes. We still have the farming part of it, but there are so many ag-related opportunities and career areas. Today’s FFA kids have many options when pursuing a career in ag.”

With that being said, Hansen encourages kids to join FFA. “You don’t need to have a farm background. It’s nice to have that, but good kids with a good work ethic and a good vision for the future can succeed in agriculture or ag-related businesses.

“FFA has changed, and it has grown, and that is good. If it had stayed the same through the years, there likely wouldn’t be enough kids to sustain the program.”

Hansen will continue his work with FFA, and will continue to work with and inspire tomorrow’s farmers and agriculture business people.