About 60% of farmers in this country are 55 years or older according to the USDA.
But more young people are signing on to this line of work than in past decades because of a growing demand for better food. Perhaps no other two organizations have done more to support this important trend than 4-H Youth Development Organization and FFA (Future Farmers of America).
Heritage Foods USA is proud to be supporting 15-year old Hunter Johnson of Washington, Kansas with his FFA work. Hunter is raising heritage breed pigs and we are so happy to be buying them! Featured this week are his porterhouse pork chops.
Hunter wanted to do something in the field of agriculture so he talked with his family about raising show pigs. But it turns out that a few of his friends were already doing that and Hunter wanted to do something different. So he asked his father, who is a veterinarian, if he had any ideas and together they decided to call up Heritage Foods USA farmer Craig Good to see if he would be willing to sell one of his rare breeds to for the project. Craig consented and sent over six Duroc/Gloucestershire Old Spot cross sows. Hunter decided to breed these with a Berkshire boar because he thought the meat quality would be excellent. Craig agreed and so the project started. As of now there are about 40 pigs running on the Johnson farm.
FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Hunter has learned hard work, and business acumen through his FFA project with Heritage. “Getting them all to bred at the same time is hard,” says Hunter, “but I love working with pigs. Seeing them born and then grow to 280lbs is cool. I like to see the changes in the pigs and know that its all for a final goal of doing business with them.”
To join Future Farmers of America, Hunter pays a $10 membership through school and attends one or two meetings every year. He also attends different contests that work on his Vet Science know-how as well as his Livestock Judging abilities. Last year he was on FFA’s Kansas Dairy Team to judge cows at a meeting in Louisville and had to defend his placements in front of professional judges.
Hunter has given talks at local 4-h and developed his public speaking skills in the process. But he still finds time to watch his favorite sport of baseball (he is a Royals and Red Sox fan).
“Future Farmers of America” was founded by a group of young farmers back in 1928. Their mission was to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. They taught that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting– it’s a science, it’s a business and it’s an art. Today, Future Farmers of America is also the Future Biologists, Future Chemists, Future Veterinarians, Future Engineers and Future Entrepreneurs of America, too.
“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.
I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.
I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.
I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so–for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.
I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.”
The creed was written by E. M. Tiffany, and adopted at the 3rd National Convention of the FFA. It was revised at the 38th Convention and the 63rd Convention.
To donate directly to FFA: https://ffa.givingfuel.com/ffadonate