Like a good bread recipe or a cowboy tall tale, farming is a tradition Austin Stanton’s family has passed through generations. After his ancestors’ emigration from Ireland nearly 200 years ago, Austin sustains his farming operation on the same land.
Austin, from the Centralia FFA Chapter in Centralia, Mo., operates a multifaceted agricultural enterprise with his brother called Stanton Brothers. His hallmark product is eggs—he owns more than 15,000 hens and sells the eggs to neighbors, restaurants, local grocery chains and the University of Missouri dining halls. Austin also raises swine and grows potatoes and radishes to diversify his operation.
In addition to producing food, Austin has a field spraying service called AHS Services. He also maintains a placement supervised agricultural experience (SAE) by working for his family’s farm, Stanton Farms, which produces field crops and beef.
Austin found a niche for his egg business, and he said FFA members wanting to start a production SAE should target a niche.
“There was no egg supply in the area that had local grown eggs and had a ready supply of them,” Austin said. “I found that niche and mastered it and I grew the business farm aspect, grew it up to where it is now sustainable for me to be able to come back to the farm whenever I get through college.”
The University of Missouri student said he wants to continue farming after completing his education, aiming to sell his products coast-to-coast. Sustaining his farming operation by adding diversity is an aspect he has implemented and aims to maintain.
“I do want to come back to the farm, I want to raise a family on the farm, and that’s the reason that my brother and I kind of went to the eggs adventure. … If you have all your eggs in one basket you’re bound to trip and fall one time. So you diversify into potatoes or different kinds of sprouts because diversification is the way to be sustainable.”