Life on the Farm

Give a kid some responsibility and you will be amazed at how much they grow.

That’s what John Goertzen, producer from Henderson, Neb., believes is the key to success for raising the next generation that will one day take over his farm. “My son, Blake, has already expressed that he wants to farm someday so it’s important that he starts learning early about responsibility, the value of money, and how to work with others.”

Blake Goertzen, a freshman at Heartland Community School in Henderson, who is involved in his local FFA Chapter, recently won Reserve Gran Champion of all Agronomy Projects at the York County Fair with his white corn samples. He then went on to win Grand Championship of the white corn samples at the Nebraska State Fair. The project consisted of finding the best ears of corn in the fall, and shelling them to find the most uniform kernels in the sample based on color and size.

Blake has also spent the last four years raising hogs for friends and neighbors. He only has 5, but that is the right size for the Goertzen facilities. Both projects teach Blake responsibility, discipline, and problem solving. On hot summer days, Blake is responsible for keeping the pigs cooled by sprinkling them with water. During the cold nights of spring, when the pigs are young, he has to make sure the heat lamp is working so the animals don’t get sick. He knows that if something isn’t working right, one could die and that would be a loss of income from the project.

“Blake has developed a sense of where food comes from,” says his dad, John. “Whether he is sorting through white corn that will eventually be made into tortilla chips or raising a 50 pound pig until it’s 275 pounds and then seeing it slaughtered and cut into bacon and pork chops, he is really learning about the hard work that goes into raising food.”

Congratulations Blake on your hard work and state champion title. The skills you learn now will be key to your success in the future.

Learn more about Value-Added Grain by visiting the “What is grain?” page.

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