Dedicated senior shapes his future in agriculture through FFA degree


Farming has been part of senior Cale Claussen’s life for as long as he can remember. Earning his FFA degree was a meaningful accomplishment for his entire family. Photo credit to Mark Mess.

Kushi Maridu, Co-Editor-in-Chief

High school is a time of exploration, preparing many students for the future educational journey and for the rest of their life. For one dedicated PV senior, Cale Claussen, his four years in high school were focused on achieving success in the agricultural field through his involvement in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization through North Scott. 

The FFA offers various levels of recognition to its members, signifying their growth and accomplishments. These levels include the Greenhand Degree, Chapter FFA Degree, State FFA Degree and the highest level of recognition, the American FFA Degree. The North Scott chapter, where Claussen received his degree from, currently has 187 agriculture students from 7th and 8th grades and 204 members from 9th to 12th grade.

This FFA degree represents the culmination of Claussen’s commitment and dedication to the FFA organization. To earn this prestigious recognition, Claussen actively engaged in a range of FFA activities, such as attending meetings, conferences, workshops and conventions, which included the State FFA Conference and completing an SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience) project. His project focused on swine production while working at his neighbor’s hog confinement operation. 

Next, students must either earn and invest $1,500, work at least 375 hours in excess classwork or a combination of both. Claussen devoted many hours to meeting these requirements. “By working for my neighbor on his hog confinement operation, I had well over enough hours between power washing and doing chores on the weekends,” Claussen stated.

Senior Cale Claussen gives a speech on the FFA farm committee, which is in charge of nearly 70 acres of farmland. (Cale Claussen)

Leadership is a vital aspect of the FFA experience. Claussen assumed a leadership position within the North Scott FFA chapter, demonstrating his ability to inspire and guide his peers. He even became a part of the leadership team, holding the office of Treasurer.  “Alongside treasury, throughout my time in FFA, I have competed in many events. I have also been one of the co-chairs of the Farm Squad, which is almost 70 acres of farm ground that students are able to run with the supervision of local farmers and the FFA advisors,” Claussen continued.

This involvement showcases Claussen’s commitment to the organization and willingness to contribute to FFA’s mission: Making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Alongside his FFA involvement, Claussen maintained high academic standards by earning upstanding grades. During his senior year, Claussen traveled to North Scott every morning for his class on Ag Leadership and Communications from 7:45 – 8:45. Excelling in his agricultural education courses and demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of agricultural principles and normal common core classes, he exemplified a balanced work and academic life.

Candidates for the FFA degree must exemplify the core values upheld by the organization even after they graduate, including leadership, personal growth, responsibility, and community engagement. They should showcase their commitment to these values through their actions and contributions to the FFA community and beyond. “I will attend Northeast Iowa Community College this fall with a ‘major’ in the John Deere Tech program.  After two years of this program, I will come back to this community and work for Sinclair Tractor,” Claussen shared.

Claussen has proved that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. His journey towards earning the prestigious FFA degree is not only a testament to his own personal growth, but also a shining example of the positive impact the FFA organization can have on young students.

“Between my brother, my mom, my Ag teacher and FFA Advisor Jacob Hunter and North Scott and Pleasant Valley working together, my brother was the first Pleasant Valley student to participate in FFA and receive his Iowa FFA Degree. This past year, he received his American FFA Degree, which is the highest degree the FFA Organization can bestow upon a member,” Claussen continued.  

“Following in his footsteps showed me that hard work pays off, and that you really do have to work for what you want to get.  Receiving my FFA Degree meant a lot to me because I am the second Pleasant Valley student to receive this award.  Within the next couple of years, I also plan to complete the application process for the American FFA Degree.”

As a community, it’s necessary to recognize the important role that the FFA plays in developing future agricultural leaders and encouraging their commitment to the industry. The organization’s hands-on approach to education and commitment to personal growth is something that should be celebrated and supported. Claussen’s achievement is a reminder that with passion and determination, hard work is the seed of boundless harvests. The future of agriculture is bright, as it is in the hands of inspiring individuals like Claussen.