This is just a small sample of the awards that grace the trophy case of Lexi Pritchard, whose career in both 4-H and FFA has been nothing short of remarkable. Growing up on a ninety-acre family farm right outside of Oconee County, agriculture was a path Pritchard knew she was destined for.
“I started showing cattle in the seventh grade. I got involved with 4-H and FFA right around that time too,” says Pritchard. “I’ve done anything from forestry judging to livestock judging, to consumer judging. It’s just been a whirlwind since then, and I’m really grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve had because it’s really developed me into who I wanted to be, and it’s shown me what I want to do with my career in the future.”
It’s that passion for agriculture and all there is to learn about the industry that led Pritchard to become actively involved with both her 4-H and FFA chapters.
“What I think sets Lexi apart is she is such an advocate for agriculture in 4-H and FFA,” says Kelle Ashley, Oconee County 4-H Agent. “We often find that kids are very loyal to one club or the other. And that’s great. I mean, both have the same mission, but Lexi is a kid that really advocates for both because she encourages her peers to do it all.”
All that hard work has certainly paid off as she now up to six masters in the 4-H program, including one that recognizes her entire body of work.
“Lexi has excelled in all things agriculture in both clubs,” says Ashley. “She recently became a master 4-H’er in the Dean’s Award project. That’s a culmination of a 4-H’er’s whole career from fifth grade until whatever point; for her it’s the eleventh grade. Lexi’s a kid who has not just focused in one area; she loves the beef industry, she loves poultry, but if you look at her resume, she’s hit dairy and equine. She really touches it all.”
That love for cattle has manifested itself into her very own startup operation thanks to plenty of hard work and determination.
“In the fifth grade, I decided that I wanted to be a cow farmer, just kind of like out of the blue, but my grandma sat me down and was like, ‘this is going to take a lot of work. You got to understand it’s not as easy as that decision.’ So, I worked my butt off cleaning horse stalls for her every day for a couple of years and they supported me through it, and they helped me buy my first two cows. It’s just grown since then, and now I have about a herd of thirty head of cattle,” says Pritchard.
Even though she’s accomplished so much in a short period of time, this is just the beginning for Pritchard as she has big plans for the future.
“I really hope to go into poultry science, which is something I got involved with in 4-H poultry judging in the seventh grade,” says Pritchard. “That’s been something when I haven’t been doing poultry judging I’ve been thinking about. When it hasn’t been the season where we’re practicing, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh. I miss it so much.’ So, that has been something that I have figured out. I want to do that with my future, and, I’m always going to have a herd of cattle as well. I just know that in some point in my life, I will figure out how to have a herd of cattle because it’s my favorite thing in the world.”
By: Damon Jones