Tell us about your agriculture background
I grew up in Perry County near plenty of agriculture. My aunt got me involved in equestrian activities. Eventually, I got involved in 4-H thanks to neighbors across our street who own a dairy farm. I have worked as a dairy herdsman, first for five years on a 500-cow dairy and then more recently with a 100-cow dairy in Juniata County. Because of poor milk prices, I’m looking for work. I’ve had the opportunity to take certificate courses through the University of Illinois on reproduction, nutrition, milk quality and dairy calf and heifer management. They have been very valuable. Between those courses, and my practical experience, I am continuing to learn.
You are serving on the State Young Farmer & Rancher Committee. What got you involved?
I was recently nominated to serve as the District 10 representative on the Young Farmer & Rancher Committee. I started last year on the Perry County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and got to know more about Farm Bureau and its programs. I realized there is an opportunity for more participation in Young Farmer & Rancher activities in our area. A few of us sat down to see what we could do to get more young farmers involved. We also wanted to reach out to the FFA Chapters and 4-H groups in our county. It’s a neat opportunity to be able to step in and get things into action. We have a lot of work to do. But we are taking baby steps to get a good program going. Farm Bureau had me hooked since I joined. There are a lot of opportunities in my county.
What kind of events are you planning for the county?
Right now we are talking about producing a county-level discussion meet, and we’ve reached out to agriculture teachers in the county. We’d like to have it be a competition between the three schools that have agriculture science programs. We also want to reach out to those students who are interested in agriculture, but don’t have a program in their school. We’ve also talked about organizing farm tours. Essentially we want to have these students understand Farm Bureau, and also try to have some fun. We want students to know there are organizations to get involved in after 4-H and FFA.
You serve as the Vice President of Perry County Farm Bureau. What do you like about the policy development process?
Right now agriculture sits in an interesting position. We have to make a stand for ourselves and for what we think is best. We have to stand as the voice of agriculture. We have to speak up and speak out and tell the government
what we want to see happen.
Are you optimistic about the future of agriculture?
We have to be. It is only going to get better from here. Sure there are issue we have to overcome or there are those who want to put agriculture down. But people are realizing the important role we play in society. Farm Bureau does a good job of telling that story. Sure, it’s a little scary at times, but I feel that with Farm Bureau we can stand united behind our story.
Lastly, why are you a Farm Bureau member?
At first I was asked to join. And then I was asked to get more involved. Since I’ve been asked, I’ve discovered a drive and passion for Farm Bureau. It’s a great community to get involved in. There are not a lot of other organizations that can make such a big change in agriculture. It is a great community for us to get behind and support our livelihoods.