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Excellence in Agriculture finalist: Jacob and Laura Henson

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By Jennifer Whitlock
Field Editor

To say Jacob and Laura Henson have a number of irons in the hearth can be an understatement.

Between partnering with their household on a customized silage enterprise, business cattle herd and white-tailed deer high-fence searching operation, the Hensons additionally personal a small advertising and marketing firm and a rising fruit and vegetable operation.

They dwell in Lingleville and have full-time “day jobs.”

Jacob is a gunsmith at Infinity Firearms, and Laura is a visiting teacher in Agricultural Communications at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

But their shared dedication to agriculture retains them going day after jam-packed day.

“My dad started the silage business when I was about five years old, so I really don’t know anything besides that,” Laura mentioned. “Growing up where my parents had an agribusiness and I was an employee, I had a firsthand view of the issues and struggles that go along with the industry. It’s motivated me to go beyond the farm to help combat some of those issues.”
Jacob grew up in close by Eastland, the place his household had a small cattle and hay operation.

“I’ve always been involved in agriculture in some aspect, as early as I can remember,” he mentioned. “I grew up raising and showing steers through 4-H and FFA, helping out on my family’s operation and participating in rodeo and team roping, just always with that connection to agriculture.”

After assembly at Tarleton State University and marrying, the younger couple started increasing past the household companies.

Laura was motivated to create a advertising and marketing company after seeing an unmet want for reasonably priced communications and advertising and marketing choices for small companies. She provides emblem and web site design, video and images providers, social media administration, promotional merchandise and customized screen-printed T-shirts and vinyl decals.

The fruit and vegetable enterprise took place as a manner for Jacob to decompress after spending lengthy weeks indoors on the gunsmith facility. What began as a small yard backyard has grown into a number of hundred sq. ft of manufacturing area, with plans to broaden their manufacturing and market attain much more in the long run.

Tomatoes, squash, peaches, blackberries and peppers, in addition to canned items produced from the produce, are picked, washed, transported and bought at native farmers markets by the younger entrepreneurs.

“My grandparents always had a big garden, so my desire to have a garden and grow vegetables was simply out of nostalgia for that connection to my family and that way of life of being self-sufficient,” Jacob mentioned. “And now we’re finding our footing in vegetable production and fulfilling that need and desire for locally-sourced produce for other families.”

In addition to their many ventures, Laura enjoys her function as a school teacher.

“Many of my students are agricultural majors with no actual production background experience. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a class where every kid in that room was an ag major and didn’t know what the USDA was,” she mentioned. “That just shows the need for people who come from a production background to make the effort to share their knowledge. So, that’s my goal, to be able to stay in production because I love it so much but also to use my experiences to help this next generation, as well.”

As they construct their enterprise legacy collectively, they’re additionally constructing a life, reminiscences and a household.

Their first baby is due in January, and the Hensons are excited to boost their daughter in the identical rural way of life they loved rising up. They can’t wait to show her about agriculture and have her be taught these rural values as she grows up concerned in their companies.

“With a little one coming soon, we’re going to have to make some changes because we stay so busy,” Laura mentioned. “But we can’t wait to do the same things for her and let her work in the garden or whatever businesses we have and learn all the good things about agriculture like we did.”

Click right here to look at a video interview with Jacob and Laura Henson.

They are finalists in Texas Farm Bureau’s 2021 Excellence in Agriculture Contest. Click right here to be taught extra in regards to the contest and different younger farmer and rancher alternatives.