Minnesota Livestock Breeders' Association Hall of Fame inductees

The 120th Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Livestock Breeders’ Association was held March 17, 2016 in the North Star Ballroom at the University of Minnesota.  As part  of the Annual Meeting, the Livestock Breeders inducted four individuals into the Minnesota Livestock Hall of Fame. The list of inductees includes Dave Sprengeler of Plato, MN, Vincent and Christine Maefsky of Scandia, MN, R. James Ertl of Rosemount, MN, and W.J. Kortesmaki (deceased).

The first inductee was Dave Sprengeler, owner and operator of Arthurst Farm of Plato, MN. He is a third generation dairy farmer of Brown Swiss cattle and has developed his herd into one that is included among the elite in the country. His father and grandfather are also in the Hall of Fame, the only family that can boast those accomplishments. He has judged internationally and won many awards in the show ring as well.

The second inductees were Vincent and Christine Maefsky, owners and operators of the Poplar Hill Dairy Goat Farm in Scandia, MN; founded in 1972. Their current herd is at 700 animals, with Alpine, Nubian, Saanens, and Toggenburgs. They have been very involved locally with the Minnesota Dairy Goat Association and nationally as members of the American Dairy Goat Association. They both have given back in the community and as hosts of many tour groups to their farm.

The third inductee was R. James Ertl, recently retired as the Executive Secretary of the Minnesota FFA Assocation, serving from 1981-2015 in that role. His career spanned four decades and his impact on agricultural education and commitment to assisting chapter FFA advisors, working with FFA members, state officers, and his passion for the Minnesota State Fair are hallmarks of his career. He was very instrumental in advocating for the construction of the FFA Chapter House and Leadership Center at the Minnesota State Fair. Jim currently serves as the superintendent of that exhibit.

The fourth inductee was W.J. Kortesmaki (M.S. Agricultural Education '30) (deceased in 2000), who served as the FFA Executive Secretary from 1947-1977. Kort had a flair for creating media attention to FFA, with many of his publicity events, including turkey trot races, the State Fair rain gauge, and rooster crowing contests. He also developed the Don’t Smoke promotion, the Camp Courage corn drives and the planting of over one million trees by FFA members. He was very active with many organizations and received several awards over the years, including the FFA Honorary State and American Farmer degrees and the FFA V.I.P. award, the highest award given to adults in 1982. He also produced the book, “Minnesota FFA”, a photographic chronology of FFA in the state.

The portraits of these four inductees join other Livestock Hall of Fame members in Haecker Hall at the University of Minnesota, where they are all displayed for the public to view.