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Ag salute takes root in FFA Corn Plot

By Seth Schmidt


What do the Culver’s Restaurant chain and the Tracy FFA have in common?  A summer story that’s both corny and a-mazing.

Through a sponsorship from Culver’s, the Tracy FFA has created a corn maze in its test plot that spells out “Thank you, farmers.” Figures of a barn and a sun frame the words.

“Culvers contacted the Minnesota FFA looking for a chapter that would create a corn maze for them,” explained Jen LaVoy, the Tracy FFA’s first-vice president. “We were the only chapter that had ever done a corn maze, so Culver’s contacted us.”  (In the summer of 2012, the Tracy FFA chopped out words in a cornfield advertising Tracy Box Car Days).

This year’s cornfield inscription, LaVoy explained, was created with the help of Jeff Buyck, a precision farming specialist with the John Deere dealership in Slayton.

“He had a GPS planter with a single row shutoff, so he was able to program the planter to plant the field with bare spots spelling out the words.  We didn’t have to do any chopping.  It’s pretty amazing,” LaVoy explained.

There has been one downside to the corn maze, which is located north of Tracy Elementary School.

At ground level, the plot “looks like it was planted badly,” LaVoy admitted.  However, aerial views reveal a near perfect image. (See photo).

LaVoy isn’t sure how Culver’s will use photos of the Tracy corn maze, except that she’s been told that the picture will be used for a poster that will be put up in the Marshall Culver’s.  The Tracy FFA plans to have a miniature train and other children’s activities set up in the maze for Box Car Days.

As a thank you to the Tracy FFA, Culver’s has offered to pay expenses for a Tracy FFA group visiting the company’s national headquarters in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin August 6-9.

Culvers had initially offered to pay the FFA for the corn maze, according to FFA advisor Paul Skoglund.  Instead, Skoglund suggested the trip.

“I thought that the chance to tour Culver’s, meet some of their people, and learn about how a company like that is run would be a great opportunity for our kids,” Skoglund said.

An overnight stay in the Wisconsin Dells is included in the trip.

All of the FFA’s 2014-15 officers are planning to go on the trip.  They are, in addition to LaVoy: Scott Lanoue, president; Ben Johnson, second vice president; Asa Nelson, secretary; Myer Van Essen, treasurer; Haley Ruppert, reporter; Morgan Benson, sentinel; Taylor Schmidt and Reagan Davis, officers at large. Several other FFA members may also go on the trip, LaVoy said.

As of 2011, Culver’s had 443 stores in 19 states.


Garvin accident victim 'loved his church'

“Love lights like a butterfly.  For a moment its beauty and glory belong to our world, but then it flies away, and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it.”


—Inscription left at

memorial for Cody Hartson


Memorials left for Cody Hartson, who died July 14 in Garvin at the age of 13, fondly remembered a well-liked youth who died too young.

The teenager was found unresponsive in a grove of trees on the edge of Garvin on the evening of July 14. Despite extended CPR efforts, efforts to revive the youth were unsuccessful.  Cody was pronounced dead at the scene.  Following an autopsy by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office, the cause of death was determined to be“accidental asphyxia,” according to a statement from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Dept.

“Cody loved his church,” Pastor Edsel Miller said at the youth’s funeral service at the First Congregational Church of Garvin Saturday.


For more on this article see this week's Headlight-Herald.