Youth Leadership Get Hands-On Ag Day

First Community Bank Youth Leadership of Weakley County Add Ag to Daylong Experiences
Posted on 04/07/2022
This is the image for the news article titled First Community Bank Youth Leadership of Weakley County Add Ag to Daylong ExperiencesQuotes like “the smell wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be,” “I would definitely be a farmer if I could have a pink tractor,” and “I was surprised at how much farming impacts our county” pretty much summed up the latest experience for the First Community Bank Youth Leadership of Weakley County (FCBYLWC). A day focused on local agriculture included surprises of all kinds and concluded with some rain-soaked but better-informed teens.

The twelve sophomores from each of the four Weakley County high schools have previously spent days focused on topics such as government, education, and community service as part of an eight-month learning experience. On Wednesday, they added tractor driving and pig handling to their resumes.

Beginning their day in Dresden, they enjoyed biscuits and sausage sourced from Moore Farm where they examined the tractors, equipment, and scales that make the tending of 3500 acres possible. The Moore family greeted the group and explained how Kenneth and Janice Moore started with 250 acres in 1970. The family now works 14 times that in corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. The farm also includes a ‘wean-to-finish’ hog operation that is in partnership with nearby Tosh Farms. Son Ben manages the bulk of the Moore Farm enterprise, wife Jennifer manages the hog operation, and the Moore’s grandson Reed Rushing, still in high school at Westview, does a work-based learning program that sees him behind the wheel and in the fields as well. Grandsons Miller Moore, a sophomore at Dresden, is familiar with life behind the combine wheel.

The students learned the Moore Farm grain is sold locally as well as to distributors transporting it “down the river and across the sea” to places like China.

“You almost have to have family already involved in farming to get into farming these days,” Janice said of the high costs like rising equipment prices.

Patriarch Kenneth smiles at thoughts of more young people becoming involved in agriculture. “With how bright the young people are today and how easily adaptable they are to new technologies that’s the bright spot for us,” he said.

Ben, an avid supporter of local FFA, explained that the family didn’t own the entire 3500 acres but served as “sharecroppers” sharing profits with those from whom they rented the land.

He was quick to encourage the students, “You might want to go into the agricultural field after today, and if you don’t, you could tell others who might.”

Joining Jennifer at the wean to finish barn was Tosh Farms’ Katie Sherman, Regional Sow Production Manager and Dr. Seth Krantz, staff veterinarian. Students were informed about the process of bringing the piglets into this operation at roughly 3 weeks old or 12-15 pounds then finishing out at around 280 pounds. Students were shown temperature setting, feeders, waterers and given an overview of the operation and its impact on Weakley County.

Lunch was sponsored by Farm Credit Services of Mid America. During the meal, Brandi Webb, Kim Hall, and Jason Sullivan spoke about Farm Credit services. Held at the Weakley County Farm Bureau Conference Room, the mealtime also allowed for Bryant Rhodes to tell the youth about Farm Bureau.

Ronnie, Janie, and Jay Yeargin then provided a look at the Yeargin Farm grain and beef operation. The group also enjoyed homemade desserts while there.

The students walked away with memories as well as t-shirts and other fun items from Moore Farm, Farm Credit and Tosh Farms, hats from Hutson Ag, and goody bags from Tennessee Soybean Association.

Barbara Virgin, the Executive Director of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce and the coordinator of the program, noted, “We are grateful to our sponsors First Community Bank of the Heartland with additional support from the Weakley County Municipal Electric System, Weakley County Schools, the Weakley County Chamber and everyone who generously contributes financially and dedicates time to this program.”

Students pose in wheels and on top of large green tractor
A rainy Wednesday proved to be a great day for sharing some of what is needed to be successful in agriculture in Weakley County. After spending time learning about equipment, taking a test drive on a tractor, and handling pigs, the First Community Bank Youth Leadership of Weakley County (FCBYLWC) wore their gifts from Moore Farm and posed with the family. Seen here are (standing, left to right) Ben Moore, Kenneth Moore, Janice Moore, Kate Stroh, Chloe Peevyhouse, Makayla Morrow, Brooklyn McDowell, Emily Kelly, Ginny Archie, Audree Arnold, Grant Turner, Jason Taylor, Reed Rushing and Thomas Sims; (seated on tractor) Tanner Thomas, Ashlee Mallon and Kyzer Crochett.

Young woman is seen at door of large tractor
Moore Farm’s Thomas Sims gave students like Emily Kelly a driving lesson.

Two teens listen as two men and a woman address them in front of a large green tractor
Chloe Peevyhouse and Ginny Archie were among the young leaders who heard about agriculture from Weakley County Schools CTE Director Lindsey Parham and Ben, Kenneth and Janice Moore of Moore Farms.

Girl watches as boy holds piglet and laughs
Young leaders Brooklyn McDowell and Tanner Thomas were introduced to many facets of farm life including piglets.

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