The life of a typical young boy is nothing compared to the daily routine of 11-year-old Farm Service Agency (FSA) Youth Loan recipient, Tanner Johnson.
“My day starts and ends by hand mixing hog feed, feeding and watering farm animals, and working with swine to prepare them for livestock shows,” said Tanner, an honor roll student at Gallatin R5 School District in Missouri and an active member of the Gallatin Knee-Hi 4-H Club.
Through the leadership provided by 4-H Club leader Alisha Chrisman and Wes Strange, project advisor, Tanner has gained the knowledge and skills needed to have rewarding 4-H projects. This year, he used a roadside stand to market sweet corn and strawberries as part of his 4-H entrepreneurship project. Yet, he admits that livestock showing is his favorite.
“It was my dream to someday acquire better quality show animals,” said Tanner. That dream didn’t take long to achieve upon discovering USDA Farm Service Agency’s Rural Youth Loan program. The program offers operating loans to youth ages 10-20 to establish and operate agricultural income-producing projects. The program gave Tanner the means to purchase quality show breeds and enhance his showing potential.
“It’s been very rewarding to see this youth take on responsibility and pursue a dream,” said Teresa Akers, FSA Farm Loan Officer. “The Rural Youth Loan program provides financial assistance and business planning to help rural youth get a start on their futures, while ensuring the future of family farms.”
Tanner said he has gained experience with business practices including financing, repayment obligations, maintaining secured property, production agriculture and the importance of recordkeeping.
He will always have family support as his parents Mike and Colleena, provide guidance and direction to their son’s 4-H projects and agriculture endeavors. Tanner’s grandfather, Dave Gray, a sheet metal worker, also contributes by utilizing his skills to construct needed show supplies such as feeders, watering systems, and a proudly-displayed show box.
“I want to be the best at livestock showing and acquire as many plaques and ribbons as possible,” said Tanner about his future goals. With several ribbons already under his belt for showmanship; champion Berkshire boar; reserve grand champion boar; grand champion Berkshire boar, reserve champion Yorkshire, reserve champion Duroc; reserve champion Hampshire and; reserve champion Berkshire — Tanner’s goals may not be so far away. For more information about FSA programs click here.