Whether Fanning's Name is Called or Not, the American Star Farmer Finalist Say's He's Already WonTue, 24 Oct 2017 11:58:36 CDT
During the National FFA Convention this week in Indianapolis, Jake Fanning of the Laverne, Okla. will finally have his chance to compete for the title of American Star Farmer. As one of the final four candidates, Fanning has been working tirelessly to prepare. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays sat down with Fanning prior to his trip to Indianapolis to recap on his journey leading up to this point. But whether he hears his name called or not, Fanning says the experience alone, has been worth it. You can hear their entire conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“This is something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Fanning remarked. “It’s a big bear to grab - definitely something that is a daunting task at first. But, after talking with some industry allies that helped me develop my program; doing different practices through the Oklahoma FFA and Career Tech organization… I think it’s a lot more manageable that I first realized and I’m very excited to take on the competition in Indianapolis.”
Fanning will be competing based on his experience and the success of his supervised agricultural experience, or SAE, which centers around the cattle business he has built during his FFA career.
“Essentially, I am a stocker cattle operation,” he explained. “I’ll purchase the head at around four to six hundred pounds. I’ll raise them for approximately one hundred to one hundred-fifty days where I will place them on wheat pasture or summer grassland. If that’s not available, I’ll feed them a specific growing ration that is designed to replace the nutrients that are found in that pastureland.”
When the duration of Fanning’s feeding period expires, he then sells his cattle in various markets across the United States.
“Before that, though, I will look at market and price analysis,” Fanning continued. “I will use my industry connections to figure out which market is best for me to have the highest return on my investment.”
Fanning’s operation that to date has ran more than 2,000 head of cattle through, initially started from humble beginnings. What started as a local competition, Fanning says became a passion.
“In all honesty, I started out as a very small producer,” he recalled. “I purchased my first four head of cattle in 2010 and grew that operation through industry leaders that I gained information from. I learned proper marketing techniques and the different markets I could use, and then I learned about risk management tools, too. That all played a massive role in my development into where my business is now.”
In the future, he hopes to continue to grow the business he has built and pass it on to the next generation one day.
“I plan to move back to around Woodward where my roots are strong and I want to continue this business,” Fanning said. “I see it moving and being a vestige of my family to come.”
Fanning says he owes much of his success to the skills he learned through the FFA and is thankful for the opportunities he has been given to succeed on the local and national level. And though the recognition is a great honor to him, Fanning says it is the opportunities that have allowed him to help others in his community and industry that have been the most rewarding.
“It’s very hard to come up with words about how the FFA has developed me as a young man,” he said. “Really the leadership skills that it presents you through the various events… They have shaped me into who I am today. I am not only an advocate for industry, I am now a steward of this industry.”
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