Dustin Stanton, age 18, is on the right path to becoming a top producer. Currently a freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Stanton has grown his farm project of producing eggs to a regional business by connecting with consumers and paying close attention to freshness.
"It’s the taste that keeps them coming back," says Dustin Stanton, of the farm-fresh eggs he produces with his brother Austin in Centralia, Mo. The quiet 17-year-old has become an aficionado on what consumers want when it comes to eggs.
Stanton visits with customers at local grocery stores and the farmer’s market, and talks with students in the dining halls at the nearby University of Missouri-Columbia, a buyer of his fresh eggs. This attention to detail helped Stanton win a 2010 National Agri-Entrepreneurship Award and $1,000 during the 83rd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., in October.
At this year’s convention, Stanton is a national finalist in the Agricultural Sales—Entreprenuership category. The national award will be presented at the convention in October. His business, Stanton Brothers, was hatched when Dustin’s first grade class incubated 12 baby chickens. As a reward, one of the students had the opportunity to take these chicks home, but Stanton was not the lucky 7-year-old. Heartbroken, Stanton told his uncle of his situation and his uncle bought him his first six baby chicks the next day.
Today, Stanton raises more than 8,500 chickens and sells an average of 2,000 dozen eggs per week to the Columbia Farmers Market, eight restaurants, three bakers, two health food stores and seven grocery stores. A new grocer to Columbia, Natural Grocers, based in Denver, Colo., has already committed to purchasing eggs from Stanton Brothers.
"My major objective right now with Stanton Brothers is to provide a safe, reliable and nutritious source of eggs to local people who enjoy eating food that they know where it comes from," Stanton says. "I even help raise the grain that I feed to the chickens. That’s the fun part—I control the quality of the product from start to finish."
Stanton is attending the University of Missouri-Columbia, majoring in Agribusiness Management, and plans to continue to market his eggs to local consumers while working on the family farm.
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