Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Zachary Ilbery
Farmer and High School Student

Checotah, Oklahoma
Zachary's Perspective

Zachary Ilbery is a successful young agricultural entrepreneur who started running his own cattle operation two years ago at age 15; he now manages a 150-head herd.

A member of the Cherokee Nation, Zachary attended the Native Youth in Food & Agriculture Summit as a youth leader, and learned how important financial management would be in the ultimate success of his fledgling business venture. With his grandfather as co-signer, he was able to secure a loan to finance his dream.

“I hope to achieve and become a successful third generation farmer and rancher in my area and achieve my dream of educating to inspire others about the importance of agriculture,” Zachary says. “My grandparents have bestowed a strong work ethic on me and I believe there is no better way to learn than to do.”

Zachary focuses 90 percent of his time on developing and growing his herd. The rest of his time is dedicated to advocating for agricultural production and food systems, specifically in Indian Country. He also has an active voice among his community as the high school FFA Chapter President.

“The future of agriculture will be challenging, but if we educate people on the importance of agriculture and what it does for us, then we can better ourselves for the future,” Zachary says. “Technology is advancing and this will also help us to better our agricultural research and production.”

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