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"Meat" the Team - Austin Collins

Knowing where your food comes from and how it's raised are very important to many people, but knowing WHO is raising your food is even more important. Meet Austin, one of Grateful Graze's newest team members. He is JR's sidekick out in the pasture. His daily tasks include setting fence, moving the shade units and animals to their new paddocks, and so much more. He pretty much cares for all the animals and makes sure they are healthy and happy.

Here's some background on Austin!

"I grew up on a small farm of 40 acres. Mom and dad have always had horses, and I’ve always been the one to take care of them, (chores: fences, water, feed, etc.) Most of my other family are crop farmers, my uncles run Snyder Farms out of Neponset IL. I never got into crop farming, or Ag for that matter, because funny enough my mother always had hopes of me doing “more.” Now, this is no fault of hers. Ag can be a particular and labor-intensive field of work. However, as I ended my junior year of high school I started to see the opportunities awaiting in agriculture.

By the beginning of senior year I had decided I wanted to do something revolving around Ag. (I still have no idea what) So, senior year I took three Ag classes and joined the FFA. The FFA taught me a lot and also introduced me to Black Hawk College. Since I was going there so often for competitions, I started to make acquaintances with the faculty there. I liked it a lot and the programs there are great. So, I chose to stay home for two years, save some money, and make some friendships. The new Ag teacher at KHS (Kewanee High School) is where I got the idea of Kansas State University. She went there, and she said it was great. She’s a very smart person, and she is also where I got a lot of my connections at BHC, so for the time being KSU is the plan after two years at BHC.

Backtracking here, I don’t know why I have a passion for agriculture, it’s just there. When I started high school I was going to go to college for very different things. Lawyer, physical therapy, but none of these things clicked with me. It wasn’t until I had spent some time on a few cattle farms that I knew that’s what I wanted to do. And here I am today, working somewhere that I’m not only learning new things everyday, I’m having the best time of my life doing it!"

We are so grateful to have a young and open mind on the farm working so hard every day to care for our animals. Make sure to thank Austin when you see him on our next farm tour!

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