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Tanner Lawton helps grow the next generation of farmers

Tanner Lawton helps grow the next generation of farmers

After Tanner Lawton heard the local Greene County School District was giving its agriculture class and FFA organization ground to farm at the site of the new high school, he knew it was a perfect opportunity to help the next generation of farmers.

Lawton, assistant vice president and ag loan officer in Grand Junction, has a background in agronomy and wanted to provide valuable insight into what goes into a farming operation — from start to finish. Once per week during the past two months, Lawton has helped prepare students to plant a corn plot on the land where the new Greene County Community High School is slated to be built. Students purchased seed, chemicals and fertilizer and planned cash flow for grain sales.

On May 4, the local agronomy class spent the afternoon with Lawton planting a 22-acre plot, laying down 12 different corn hybrids. For a few of the students, it was the first time they operated a planter, Lawton said.

“The most rewarding part of this project has been the excitement the students have shown knowing that this is their crop to grow and sell,” Lawton said. “They are getting a firsthand experience to what a farmer has to deal with every day and how stressful yet rewarding farming can be.”

Lawton grew up on a farm and enjoys helping local farmers through his work at Peoples Bank. He’s invested in the local agriculture scene. When he went through high school, he didn’t receive the firsthand farming experience through the school’s curriculum, which was another motivating factor for him to lend a hand.  

“Helping these students have an experience that I wasn’t able to have as a high school student is one reason why I wanted to help with this project,” Lawton said. “The project could possibly change a student’s opinion of agriculture and lead them into the agronomy field through farming, lending, marketing, ag technology or becoming an agronomist.”