Iowa FFA is Tradition for Sturgeon Family of Belmond

“Amplify: Boost your impact” is the theme of the 88th annual Iowa FFA Leadership Conference, which will be held April 17-19, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. Not only does that conference theme serve as a rally cry for the more than 5,000 FFA members who will gather from across the state, but it’s the mantra of Sam Sturgeon of Dows.

“I first decided to join FFA because I love helping on our farm,” says Sam, whose grandfather raises seed beans for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. Her father, Eric, is a Latham® seed dealer. The family also grows corn and runs a cow-calf operation. “FFA is becoming an important way for me to develop leadership skills. I’ve been reporter the past year. Chapter officers lead events and activities throughout the year, plus COLT (Chapter Officer Leadership) Training allowed us to meet officers from all chapters in our area.”

A junior at Belmond-Klemme High School in Belmond, Sam has been active in FFA since seventh grade. Sam’s younger brother, Caleb, also joined the chapter in seventh grade. Both of them are carrying on the tradition set by their father and grandfather.

Sturgeon Kids

And just like her Grandpa Ron and Great Grandpa Gene Sturgeon, Sam will receive the Iowa FFA Degree. Next week when Belmond-Klemme FFA members travel to Ames for the state leadership conference, Sam will be awarded the highest rank a state association can bestow upon a member.

Qualifications for the Iowa FFA Degree include:

  1. Recipient of the Chapter FFA Degree and having been an active FFA member for at least two years.
  2. Participation in at least 25 unduplicated hours of community service. Sam’s community service projects included: working the concession stand and cleaning up after sporting events at school, (coordinating or participating in?) a food drive for the food pantry and the Summer Backpack food program, as well as providing a calf and working at the petting zoo during Klemme Ag Days.
  3. Achieving a satisfactory scholastic record as certified by the local agricultural education instructor, the principal or superintendent.
  4. Demonstrated leadership ability:
    1. Performing 10 procedures of parliamentary law.
    2. Giving a six-minute speech on a topic related to agriculture or the FFA.
    3. Serve as an officer, committee chairperson or participating member of a chapter committee.
  5. Completion of at least two years (360 hours) of systematic school instruction in Agriculture Education of above the ninth grade level, including a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program. Through the SAE program, a student must have earned and productively invested at least $1,000 or worked at least 300 hours in addition to the class time or a combination thereof.

For her Beef Production Placement SAE project, Sam helps her grandparents with 43 Maine Anjou-Angus cow-calf pairs. Calving begins in February and wrap up as planting season begins.

“This year was especially exciting,” says Sam. “We did a lot of embroyo implants, so I stayed busy watching heat cycles. I enjoyed helping select semen from the bull we wanted. I was so excited to see what the calves would look like this year! I’m pretty excited about what we’ll have to work with.”

At the 2015 Wright County Fair ,Sam and Caleb won Champion Cow-Calf Pair. They show cow-calf pairs for FFA and market beef through the Pleasant Progressors 4-H Club.

While Caleb likes showing beef cattle, he really enjoys helping with crop production. His lifelong dream is be the fourth generation on his family’s North Central Iowa farm.  Sam prefers livestock production and plans to become a veterinarian. She volunteers nearly every Saturday, as well as on days when there isn’t school, at the Hampton Veterinary Clinic. She assists with surgeries and goes on farm calls. She helps spay and neuter pets, too.

Blame in on their FFA roots, Grandma knew they needed FFA boots!

Blame in on their FFA roots, Grandma knew they needed FFA boots!

The Sturgeons stay busy outside of school and farming. Sam also works part-time at Fareway. Caleb is a member of the football and basketball teams. In the off-season, he lifts weights.

Every cattle producer knows the way to boost your energy levels and fuel your body is by eating beef! One serving of beef, provides our bodies with nearly half of its needed protein plus 10 essential nutrients including zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins.

In anticipation of May Beef Month – and in celebration of Sam earning the Iowa FFA Degree – today the Sturgeon is sharing with us of one of their family’s favorite beef recipes.

Cocktail Meatballs


2 lbs Ground Beef

2 tsp Salt

¼ tsp Pepper

1 Small Onion, chopped

1 c Cracker Crumbs

1 Egg

½ c Milk



½ c Butter

½ c Vinegar

¾ c Brown Sugar

¼ c Soy Sauce

1 c Catsup

¼ c Water

1 tsp Dry Mustard

¼ tsp Garlic Salt

¼ c Lemon Juice


Mix ingredients together and form balls.  Brown and put into sauce in crockpot to simmer.