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Adding Names to the Blue Wall

Atlantic FFA members receive their Iowa Degrees at the Iowa FFA State Convention.
Eric Miller
FFA members received their Iowa Degrees and were recognized at one of the general sessions during the convention. Left to Right: Parker Brock, Colton Rudy, Callee Pellett, Claire Pellett, Charli Goff, Colton Becker, Wyatt Simons. Missing Roth Den Beste.

This year a record eight Atlantic FFA members earned their Iowa FFA Degree at the 96th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference on April 16, 2024, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa FFA Degree is the highest degree that can be bestowed upon an FFA member by the Iowa FFA Association each year. Less than 4 percent of the FFA members in Iowa receive the degree each year.
To receive the Iowa FFA Degree, FFA members must meet the following standards: 1) Have been an active FFA member for at least 24 months; 2) Have completed at least two years of systematic instruction in agricultural education; 3) Have earned and productively invested at least $1,500 or worked at least 375 hours in a supervised agricultural experience program; 4) Have a satisfactory scholastic record; 5) Have demonstrated leadership abilities from a specific list of activities; 6) Have completed 25 hours of community service; and 7) Have participated in at least five different FFA activities above the local level. This year Parker Brock, Colton Becker,
Charli Goff, Callee Pellett, Claire Pellett, Roth Den Beste, Colton Rudy, and Wyatt Simons have earned this prestigious award.
Colton Becker began his SAE project by working on his family farm. “My current job description is Draft horse manager, show cattle supervisor, seed assistant, and regular work on the family farm. A little about all those things, I buy and sell and show draft horses all year around. I do all the work from training to shoeing to showing and showcasing for sales,” said Becker. Along with all of those responsibilities, Colton also supervises the family show cattle operation. That includes the daily work like chores, washing, clipping, and advertising for the family sale. Becker also has another SAE working as a hired hand on the family row crop operation. He spends most of his time custom planting or custom vertical tilling. After high school Becker plans to continue working for the family’s operation. He plans on continuing to sell cattle and draft horses, along with assisting the seed operation and the family farm.

Parker Brock began his SAE project by working on his parent’s farm as the caretaker of several rabbits that he would show at county and state fairs. “I feed, water, and breed the rabbits to sell at auctions or sales to make a profit,” Brock said. Brock started his project about five years ago when he saw rabbits at the Cass County Fair and the people showing them. This piqued his interest so he decided he wanted to try to raise his own rabbits. Brock said, “Raising rabbits on my family’s farm is an integral part of Iowa’s agricultural community and the overall agriculture economy throughout the United States. Rabbits can be raised as breeding stock, pets, certain types of food, and more. Rabbits are a good animal to start a farm with, they have some of the lowest farm costs than other livestock animals. This makes rabbits an ideal livestock animal to raise for small farmers such as myself, and a straightforward animal to raise in the agricultural economy. Skills like analyzing the nutritional needs of rabbits and livestock are important to raising successful and healthy rabbits and that’s with every livestock animal.”
Roth Den Beste started his SAE project by working for Dean Brownlee and his lawn-mowing business in the spring of 2021. Den Beste would start the day preparing, cleaning, and fueling the mowers. “When I got the first yard I would begin by picking up sticks and weed-eating. Then I would use the mower to finish the lawn,” said Den Beste. In the past 3 years Den Beste’s responsibilities have increased and so has the business to now mow approximately 50 different yards in a week.
Charli Goff has had several jobs while working towards her Iowa FFA Degree. She began working at Fareway where she provided customer service to customers by assisting in carrying out groceries and stocking the shelves with fresh produce. Her second job was working at the Heritage House as a dietary aid to provide safe and nutritious meals for residents. After residents finished eating, she cleaned and sanitized dishes and counter
surfaces. In 2023 Goff worked two jobs, first at Scooter’s where she provided safe and nutritious drinks and food to customers, and at the Wickman Center as a dietary aid. “In all of my SAE projects, I’m providing safe and nutritious food for people. Another big part of my projects was sanitation. I had to make sure that safe food handling practices were being used and that dishes and counters were properly sanitized,” said Goff. Throughout my SAE projects, Goff played a part in providing nutritious food for people of all ages from children to senior citizens.
Callee Pellett has been working for Pelcorp LLC. for the last five years. Pellett’s role in the company has expanded from just helping as needed to planting, fertilizing, harvesting, selling, and making crop decisions. Pellett also helped care for, wash, and repair equipment. “I am one of the primary grain cart operators during the harvest season. I also plant and transport seed to planters during the planting season, and pick up anhydrous tanks during fertilizer seasons,” said Pellett. Pellett will continue with her SAE project in the coming years. “I plan on running my own farm operation in the future while continuing to help the family operation,” said Pellett.
Claire Pellett has two SAE Projects. The first is working at the family farm Pellett Ridge Farms. Pellett said, “While working for Pellett Ridge Farms, I help sort feedlot cattle and implant and vaccinate the cow herd. In the spring, I help check cows and assist with calving. I help when we wean calves and preg-check cows in the fall.” Pellett also would help with any work that needs to be done on machinery, buildings, or other items. Pellett’s second Entrepreneurship SAE is FFA show calves. “I buy calves from my father’s herd in the winter and raise them in winter and spring to show them at the county fair in late summer,” said Pellett. Pellett assists with daily feeding, and making decisions for their well-being and training. “My daily care routine for the calves in the spring and summer consists of walking, washing, grooming, feeding, and showing technique practice. I sell the calves at the fair’s sale day,” said Pellett.
Colton Rudy’s SAE Project is working for DeVore Fencing, a privately owned small business providing fence installation services to customers in Western Iowa, Eastern Nebraska, and Northwestern Missouri. DeVore Fencing installs Continuous, Guard Rail, Barbed, barless, Vinyl, and Chain Link fences. “I used to work with my Dad and Brad DeVore on smaller jobs before the pandemic, learning how to install wire and woven wire fences. Working throughout the summer break for the next three years until I joined the Iowa National Guard and spent my summer at Basic Combat Training” said Rudy. While working for DeVore Fencing, Rudy learned how to install all kinds of fences for large and small animals, along with commercial and residential Chain Link for clients establishing a property line containing their pets or businesses trying to keep wildlife off sensitive areas. As a junior, Rudy entered the Iowa National Guard and will complete AIT this summer with hopes of becoming a pilot someday.
Wyatt Simons began his SAE project working for Van Wall John Deere in Adair. Simons works side-by-side with current agriculture technicians, helping them with their projects in order to get them done in a more timely fashion. “This is to build my own experiences and ensure that I understand the basics of being a technician before furthering my education with the company. I work on everything agricultural-wise,” said Simons. This includes but is not limited to: tractors, combines, forage harvesters, lawnmowers, lawn tractors, planters, sprayers, manure spreaders, skid loaders, etc. Simons will attend school next fall in the John Deere Tech program. Van Wall will continue to employ Simons and pay for most of his education. In the next two years, Simons will attend school for a few months and then return to Adair to receive hands-on educational experience. “In essence, my role is a hands-on contribution to the agricultural economy, ensuring farmers have the tools for continued production, and my skills support prosperity and the economic system,” said Simons.

Each Iowa FFA Degree recipient receives a certificate and the Golden State FFA Degree Charm which is made possible with support from Pioneer-Corteva through the Iowa FFA Foundation.

*This report was edited for clarity.

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About the Contributor
Maddy Anderson*
Maddy Anderson*, Staff Writer
Sophomore Maddy Anderson has been in journalism from the start. “I’m proud of my senior [profile] story because I got out of my comfort zone and talked more.” Anderson’s favorite memory from journalism so far is taking pictures for FFA. Anderson is involved in FFA, 4H, showing livestock, tennis and football cheer. “Showing livestock is one of my favorite hobbies,” she said. While outside of school, Anderson loves to hang out with friends and family, and babysit. “I am a nanny because I love kids,” said Anderson. When Anderson graduates high school she would like to attend Northwest Missouri State and major in agriculture. Bio by Rylee Bengel

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