Cass City, Michigan
Farm Credit Affiliation
GreenStone Farm Credit Services
At age 13, Addy Battel is already a driving force in her community where she’s helped start a junior high FFA chapter and a 4-H club, serving as president for both. Addy also has been instrumental in starting a hunger relief project, a dairy education clinic, and her own maple syrup and meat businesses.
“While I enjoy being successful myself, I most enjoy watching other teens be successful and strive to lead others to success through my example,” Addy says. ”4-H and FFA have been inspiring, as I am able to watch others grow with me as I make lifelong friends with the same interests.”
Addy shows hogs, dairy cows, goats and poultry and, for the first time this year, a feeder steer. She teaches other students to show, particularly her two young brothers with special needs. She’s opened up her barn this year to make it available for students without their own facilities to raise their animals and is there to help them choose animals and learn to care for and show them. At a county fair event, Addy noticed a boy in a wheelchair unable to touch the rabbit she was showing. A problem solver with a big heart, Addy took hold of his bare foot and helped him pet the rabbit in his own way.
After delivering the opening speech at the Michigan Maple Syrup Association conference, Addy learned that a huge segment of maple trees are left untapped because it’s disallowed on state land. She wrote a proposed bill to change this policy and met with the director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and her senator, who has promised to consider supporting it.
When Addy and some friends learned there’s a dire need for protein for low-income families in Cass City, they earned a $2,500 grant for hunger relief through National FFA and then doubled the money by fundraising with local civic groups. The money paid for chicks, piglets, feed, supplies and processing and the kids put in the legwork raising the animals. They volunteered to distribute the meat they produced through their project called “Meat”ing the Need for our Village. Recently, after traveling to attend a Junior Holstein Association education day that was not available in her area, Addy pulled together a team of adults to help her put on a series of youth dairy clinics, currently being planned using a $500 4-H grant.
An accomplished ag marketer for her own agricultural enterprises, Addy sold out pre-orders of her latest chickens in four hours via social media. Her flock won the state FFA junior high broiler contest and she has a waiting list of customers. She and her teen business partner will be expanding their maple syrup business this March with customers already standing by after last year's syrup supply quickly sold out.
While Addy’s accomplishments are already significant, her plans are even bigger: she’s creating a new blog to tell the story of agriculture from a teen’s perspective, and has her sights set on pursuing an animal science degree at Michigan State University, where she’s already earned a $2,000 scholarship.
“I believe the future of agriculture depends on our future generations, the agriculturalists like my friends and me who are still young,” says Addy. “But we don’t need to wait to make a difference. Even if we can’t vote or drive, we are agvocates and we can educate and create a better future now.”
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