Mary Hopkins Award Recipient:
Sam Hands, Garden City, Kansas, is the 2019 Beef Empire Days Mary Hopkins Award recipient. A fourth generation cattleman, Sam began his career in the beef industry in 1957 purchasing 12 bred Angus heifers with his dad, Fielding. As a vocational agriculture student, he expanded his herd as a custom caretaker for a young registered Angus breeder.
While at Kansas State University, Hands served as a State FFA Officer and received the American Farmer Degree. He was a member of the meat, wool and livestock judging teams, Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and Block & Bridle.
After graduating from K-State in 1970, Sam served two years as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army with a tour in Vietnam before returning home to join his father’s operation. He partnered with his two brothers, Greg and Cedric, to establish Triangle H Grain & Cattle Co. Over the years, the operation has grown to include irrigated crop production, a cow calf operation and two feedyards. Cattle are primarly marketed through U.S. Premium Beef that they invested in as a founding member.
Hands has been an industry leader, serving as Beef Empire Days and Finney County Farm Bureau president. He was one of the original six delegates on the Cattleman’s Beef Board to develop the Beef Checkoff program and served as vice chairman of the Kansas Beef Council. Sam served as chairman of the KSU LMIC and is now on the LMIC Royal Board, the State FFA Foundation Board and Finney County Economic Development.
In 1978, Sam was named the Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher of the Year. He has received the LMIC Stockman of the Year Award, BIF Commercial Producer of the Year Award, Honorary Member and Outstanding Stockman from the KSU Block & Bridle Club, KSU ASI Distinguished Alumni Award, Honorary Finney County 4-H Alumni Award and was made an Honorary Chapter Farmer of the Garden City FFA.
Sam and his wife, Janet, have three children – Marisa, Quincy and Rebecca — and three grandchildren.