Meet 18-year-old Leighton Western of Queen City. His interest in agriculture began when he was 8 years old with raising and showing dogs, goats, and hams with the Downing 4-H Group. When he was 13, his grandfather introduced him to the family business and began working at Westernâ??s Smokehouse in Greentop, to this very day he is still working there as part of his Ag Sales and Services project with the Schuyler County FFA. It is all he knows.
â??It teaches you to work for something. If you donâ??t get it the first time, you can try again. Just keep trying, donâ??t give up if you want something,â?? Western said.
On a daily basis, Leighton's duties include working up front at the counter, slicing deli meats and cheeses, and stocking the stores shelves. But the most important part is of course helping and meeting his customerâ??s needs.
â??You kind of learn how to read people a little bit and how to interact with them. Sometimes youâ??ll get difficult customers, but all in all itâ??s not bad, most people are reasonable,â?? Western said.
Leighton has also had the chance to experience some funny moments while working at his family store.
â??I remember one time when I was pretty little; I was in the freezer getting something when my grandpa came in. He didnâ??t know I was there and I got locked in the freezer. I was in the back corner and it was dark. I had to find my way to the door to press a button to get me out. Looking back it was pretty funny,â?? Western said.
Leighton says agriculture has become a big part of his life and wants to share its importance to the world.
â??Some people think agriculture is about the farmer and their animals. Almost anything can be agriculture related. Itâ??s so broad,â?? Western said.
When not working at his familyâ??s store Leighton likes to play baseball, trap shoot, and fix cars. He is planning to attend the University of Missouri this upcoming fall to study Ag Business and hopes to follow in his grandfatherâ??s footsteps to become the next owner of Westernâ??s Smokehouse.
Congratulations Leighton on being this week's Ag Kid.