You could argue the world of high school sports draws a disproportionate amount of attention. Win a state title and you’re sure to grab headlines. But north of Long Grove, Iowa there’s a state champion you’ve never heard of…
“I really didn’t know what to expect since I’d never done it before and it was crazy when I found out,” says Samantha Urmie.
Urmie is now preparing to compete on the FFA’s national level in ‘oil and fiber crop production.’ She won her state proficiency award last year. To give you an idea of just difficult this is, only one other student from her school has even qualified for state in this category in the last six years.
“Ever since she was a little girl she’s followed me around on the tractors, and always was interested in why we do things the way we do ‘em,” says her dad Dan Urmie.
“She was lucky enough to have parents that would let her rent this chunk of land,” says her ag instructor Jamie Gray.
That’s right rent, for her project Samantha is responsible 80 acres of crop land. And she’s paid for just about every part of this project.
“She had to purchase all the inputs, she purchased all the seed, fertilizer, all the chemicals, weed control. She got an eye-opening experience when she went to pay her bills, it’s very expensive,” says Dan Urmie.
This is the third year Samantha’s been in the field all on her own. Inside the tractor she’s got to keep an eye on where she’s going, her speed, drop rates, and how much fertilizer she’s putting down.
“It’s actually more than you think actually; it’s actually really hard to keep track of all of it,” says Samantha.
But it’s that ability to keep track of things, and her meticulous record keeping that earned Samantha her state title – her entry to the proficiency competition was more than 30 pages long.
“They want to know just about everything you do. It’s a lot of work,” she adds.
Mom and dad know what an accomplishment this is, but there are very that know just how big a deal this award is, especially Samantha’s friends.
“I tell them that I won it, and they’re like oh, good job, and I’m pretty much like oh you probably don’t really know anything about this,” she explains.
And while her friends may know more about competition on the softball diamond, or basketball court, Samantha’s on track to someday take over the family farm – with plans expanding the entire operation.
“We try to do everything right and apparently she’s done everything right to win this award,” says Dan Urmie.
“Well, I think they’re pretty proud of me and they think it’s a great accomplishment,” says Samantha smiling.
Urmie has one more year of high school at North Scott. After graduation she plans to go to Muscatine Community College for two years before transferring to Iowa State.