Agribusiness Star

CAFNR student entrepreneur recognized by National FFA

Dustin Stanton, an agribusiness major who will graduate from CAFNR in December, was named the 2014 American Star in Agribusiness by the National FFA.

Stanton, 21, a member of the Centralia FFA Chapter, is known for developing with his brother a large and thriving egg business on the family farm. He is the son of Andrew and Judy Stanton, who operate a 1,200-acre grain and cattle operation.

The American Star awards, including the American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are awarded to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills through completion of a supervised agricultural experience program. The activity allows students to learn by doing by either owning and operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business, or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.

A 4-H classroom chicken-hatching project inspired Dustin Stanton to begin raising chickens. A six-chick hobby has turned into a 12,000-chicken egg business.A 4-H classroom chicken-hatching project inspired Dustin Stanton to begin raising chickens. A six-chick hobby has turned into a 12,000-chicken egg business.

Here a Chick…

Stanton started his enterprise with a gift of six chicks from his uncle when Stanton was in first grade. As co-owner with his brother, he manages more than 22,000 laying hens and gardens totaling 4,300 square feet.  The operation supplies neighbors, local businesses, nursing homes, university dining halls and farmers markets with fresh eggs, radishes and tomatoes.

He will return to his family’s farm after graduation and expand the enterprise, Stanton Brothers Eggs. He currently has three part-time employees and operates a refrigerated truck to make deliveries. He ships about 3,500 dozen eggs each week. He recently constructed an automated nest and conveyer system to increase production.

Perfecting Business Skills While Learning Them

Stanton learned quickly that time management is critical for the company’s long term success. With the skills he acquired at home, through FFA and at the University of Missouri, he is able to manage the finances and network with other businesses to build relationships and generate sales. His brother Austin prefers to focus on caring for the hens and addressing maintenance and other various tasks around the farm.

“I’ve always dreamed of being able to stay on the family farm and continue my passion for agriculture,” Stanton said. “I knew at a young age that I would have to find a niche on the farm and foster it.”

Stanton also received the 2011 National FFA Agricultural Proficiency Award in agricultural sales.

The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 610,240 student members as part of 7,665 local FFA chapters. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

The Stars Over America project is sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, DuPont Pioneer, Elanco, Farm Credit and Syngenta.