The opportunity to travel across the country is all in the business for Cole Riggin of the Riverton FFA Chapter in Kansas. His lifelong experience with his family’s custom harvesting company, Riggin Farms, turned into a placement supervised agricultural experience (SAE) down the road.
The grain harvesting season starts in May in Texas, and Riggin travels north over a five- to six-month period completing custom harvesting operations, ending up in Idaho.
“When I first started, I was just learning how to operate all the equipment and everything,” he said. “Then, over time, once I got older, I started to kind of manage the crew a little bit whenever my dad wasn’t around or whenever we split up. I became more of a foreman really.”
Though many of Riggin’s work skills have been acquired on the job, he credits FFA with helping develop his communication skills.
“I was an officer in FFA, so it helped me branch out and talk to people and meet new people,” he said. “So, that’s good for the business, being able to talk to customers and going out and try to find new customers.”
Riggin said his FFA adviser, Jacob Larison, played a big role in his SAE, especially when it came time to apply for the American FFA Degree and American Star Awards.
“He’s been down this road before,” Riggin said. “He’d give me a heads up on what I need to expect about everything and tells me what would be better to put on my application. That’s how he’s helped me the most.”
Concerning his future in agriculture, Riggin said in addition to traveling for custom harvesting, he wants to build up the family farm in Kansas.
“I think that there’s a lot of young people who are not into agriculture anymore,” he said. “So, I just see a great opportunity for me to grow and try to fill the void.”