Brayden Hallford: POWER of Youth

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Brayden Hallford prepares award-winning bacon to compete in the county fair each year using skills he has gained in 4-H. As an incoming junior at California High School in Agri-Ready Designated Moniteau County, Brayden looks forward to participating in FFA and school sports. Brayden is an example of the POWER of youth development in Missouri agriculture.

Brayden is the president of the Moniteau County Shamrock 4-H Club where his projects include photography, pigs, and woodworking. Brayden prepares a slab of bacon and a cured ham and shows three pigs at his county fair. As part of his woodworking project, he builds decorative American flags. He donated one of his flag projects to a local benefit auction and it was purchased by his District 58 State Representative, Willard Haley. Brayden is proud that his project is displayed in Representative Haley’s office in the Missouri State Capitol.

In addition to his leadership in 4-H, Brayden is serving as the reporter for the California FFA Chapter this year. His FFA SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience) project is his partnership with a neighboring beef cattle farmer. Brayden helps care for the beef herd and raises the calves produced. Brayden purchases supplemental feed and pays for any vet services and in exchange, he earns 2/3 of each calf crop to grow his own herd or sell. “I also make a little extra money mowing lawns which is really hard to do during a drought,” Brayden said.

Brayden is one of only thirty Missouri youth chosen to participate in the 2023 Missouri Agribusiness Academy (MAbA) sponsored and hosted by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Brayden was encouraged to attend the Academy by a fellow FFA member who attended in 2022. His FFA Advisors helped him to complete his application and Representative Haley helped him prepare for an interview. Brayden earned a seat as one of five youth to represent his district and one of thirty Missouri sophomores chosen through the competitive application and interview process. 

Members of the 2023 MAbA class spent a week during June touring a variety of agribusinesses in the St. Louis area, with an extra trip to the bootheel region. “All of the tour stops were awesome,” Brayden said. The MAbA tour opened Brayden’s eyes to the vast variety of farming that is done in Missouri. He was able to see how agriculture research, production, agribusiness, and more are connected to create the industry he is so eager to pursue.

 “It was awesome to be numbered among 30 people who are looking to be leaders in the agriculture industry. I have always wanted to be a farmer. Agriculture education is teaching me a lifestyle and showing me opportunities I can pursue in my future,” Brayden said. 

Brayden is the youngest child of John and Nicole Hallford. His mom serves as his 4-H club leader. Mr. Gary Reichel, Mr. Gary Morris, and Mr. Adam Bieri are his FFA Advisors. Brayden also enjoys playing baseball and basketball at California High School. The Hallford family are members of Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and Missouri Farm Bureau, partners of Missouri Farmers Care.