Every morning, just before seven, Eyob Needles arrives at his job at Hillcrest Farms. He cleans the milking parlors, feeds the calves, and never seems to take a break. Yes, Eyob has an abundance of energy and a work ethic that is hard to match. His passion for everything he does has earned Eyob high praise from Hill Crest Farms Owner, Mark Rodgers.
“You know, he took the time to ride up here to ask for a job in the rain on a bicycle. And so, you know, that’s the first thing to catch your eye. He smiles all the time, just has that positive, upbeat attitude, and that helps a lot too when you’re looking for a job. If somebody comes in and just really has that positive outlook on life, you’re more prone to hire them,” says Rodgers.
“It probably comes from my parents, I think, because I know, growing up they were always really hard working to make sure that they could provide for us,” says Eyob Needles. “I think growing up with that, you can actually visibly see it as we grew up with them, that it starts to rub off on you and then you start wanting to follow in their footsteps. I sometimes think I have ADHD, I can’t sit still, so I want to put it to use the best I can. If I sit still too long, I end up just going out of my mind. So, I go out and I try to figure something out to do, like, ‘hey, I want to do this, so I’m gonna do it the best I can and I’ll just work on it as long as I can,’ you know?”
At Eighteen-years old, Eyob acts and talks like a person who has been around agriculture his entire life. Truth is, he’s a relative newcomer. Just over three years in fact. When asked what he loves most about agriculture, he doesn’t hesitate to answer.
“Oh, definitely number one’s the animals. I love animals so much. I mean, I’ll spend as much time as I can in whatever free time I have with animals,” says Needles. “At the end of my shift, I’ll clock out and then I’ll go back to my favorite calf, Bella and I’ll play with her a little bit. Then I’ll go home and I’ll hang out with my puppies. We’ve got three Great Pyrenees,
two of ’em are pups, but I just love the animals and I love being outside and I love working with my hands. And that’s what agriculture provides you, is animals, and outdoor work.”
Did you catch what he said there? That, other Job? By noon, Eyob’s day has only just begun, even though it started at seven am. For one, he’s home schooled, and just like every other teenager, he has to do his schoolwork before he can begin that other job, which is building chicken coops, but these chicken coops are not your average coops. Some would say they’re architectural masterpieces.
“It started when we got chickens ourselves and we needed a build real quick. So, I threw one together out of pallet boards that we had. I actually enjoyed it when I finished it because I was like, ‘wow, I made something out of junk.’ It turned out really well. So I built another one because we wanted wanted more chickens,” says Needles.
Nowadays, he uses brand new pressure-treated wood. Still, he practices sustainability by recycling all the wood he uses and reselling it. His attention to detail and his craftsmanship are impeccable, and his chicken coops have become very popular.
“Just the effort he goes to, to do a really good job and satisfy the customers that he’s selling them to, shows that he’s aware of how to market things. So, I like seeing that in any young person to try to really do a good job and go beyond what is expected,” says Rodgers.
“When I sell a coop, I’ll even like wait a couple weeks and then I’ll come back and message the buyer and I’ll ask them, ‘is there anything wrong? Is there anything you want me to fix or that I should fix for the next one?’ And I’ll take their feedback and I’ll apply it to the next build. So, it started with pretty much nothing, then it’s built up to an actual business that I really enjoy doing. I actually have grown into having all these different tools now instead of just working with a hammer and a crowbar, but starting that way actually allowed me to understand that it takes work and it takes dedication to actually build your way up,” says Needles.
Despite his busy schedule, Eyob is determined to succeed in all his endeavors. He also knows he has a bright future ahead of him, and he is willing to put in the hard work to make his dreams a reality. His passion for agriculture and his talent for carpentry make Eyob a valuable asset to his community, and he has already made a name for himself at such a young age.
“He’s gonna be successful at what ever he does, and that’s one thing we try to instill in all the young people here, is do a good job,” says Rodgers. “That carries into any job you’re ever gonna do anywhere in society. So, we’re not necessarily thinking that they’re gonna dairy full-time when they leave here, and we hope some of them do stay, but some will go on to bigger and better things for them and that’s great, but we want to instill that work ethic that they’re gonna need to succeed.”
By: Ray D’Alessio