Fueling Youth — Jennifer Hawkins

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Jennifer Hawkins shown with her husband, Garrett, and their three children.

Mrs. Hawkins Fuels Youth

As the quote goes ‘Your greatest accomplishment may not be something you do, but someone you raise,’ or in this case, someone you mentor. Near Appleton City in #AgriReady St. Clair County, Jennifer Hawkins helps operate the family farm with her husband Garrett and their three young children. The family maintains a commercial cow-calf herd and a small flock of Katahdin sheep. They keep laying hens, and the kids are involved with the family garden, market lambs, market hogs and broiler chickens as 4-H projects.

Jennifer and her three children.
Jennifer and her three children.

Jennifer has two degrees in agriculture education from the University of Missouri. Her contributions to educating youth are diverse. Working with Vivayic, she updated and rewrote curriculum on plant science for Missouri AgEd. She has written curriculum while serving as the program manager for the national quality service assurance program known as Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA). Jennifer has spent many years pouring into the local 4-H program as a volunteer parent and leader to meet the needs of local youth to be mentored, especially in agriculture projects.

Melissa Stong, the Bates County 4-H youth program assistant with University of Missouri Extension, said Jennifer dedicates an abundance of her time to her local 4-H club.

“Jennifer really cares and spends a lot of time with the members of her 4-H club,” said Melissa. “Her club is one of the bigger clubs in the county! She is an outstanding club leader.”

Prior to 2016, Jennifer was an agriculture education instructor and FFA advisor in the classroom. After six years of experiences outside the classroom, she is excited to return this fall as the new instructor and advisor of the Butler R-V Schools agriculture education department and Butler FFA chapter. Jennifer felt a need to return to her passion of teaching in the classroom.

“Now that my kids are a little older, I feel called; I need to go back to the classroom and do something more,” Jennifer stated.

Jennifer looks forward to working with the strong community support network in the district, setting goals for the program, and personally working with each student to help them succeed. Jennifer’s perspective of agriculture education is succinct.

“Literacy is vital,” Jennifer said. “Kids need to understand the fundamentals of the food and fiber sectors of their life. Every single student will eat and wear clothes.”

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys capturing rural Missouri through her photography business, Prairie Belle Hobby Photography. The family is active in their church, First Baptist Church in Appleton City. They are also members of the Missouri Farm Bureau, where Garrett serves as President, and Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, partners of Missouri Farmers Care.

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