Beautiful rolling hills with gentle slopes, vegetation consisting of corn and hay and more, cows, chickens, and other livestock plus all types of tractors used to work on the fields, can still be seen in so much of Scioto County, Ohio. Even as the new highway is being built on the south central area, there is an abundance of agricultural landscapes still thriving in southern Ohio. 4H, still popular in this area, is one of the organizations that helps get the next generations prepared to carry on these legacies.
Jacob LeBrun, is one of those in the next generation who wants to be involved with agriculture as he grows up. He is an enthusiastic, diligent, young man, who already at age 15, has a great sense of what his place in the world might be. As soon as Jacob was old enough, he began raising and showing animals at the county fair. And it seems that this is where he found his passion toward doing this for a long time to come.
Jacob is at this time, working with his heifer, Penelope, who is an Angus heifer about eight months old. He has already shown her two times since the Scioto County Fair. He says that she is pretty cooperative to work with in shows. He has shown at the Scioto County Open Show and last weekend at the ‘Heart of it All show, where Jacob placed 7th in showmanship in the intermediate class in a state competition in Lima, Ohio. Giving Jacob the reinforcement that proves that his hard work is worth it. Jacob plans on showing more in the state of Ohio throughout the year and into the next. He plans on showing again next weekend.
Speaking with Jacob and asking if he liked showing in these competitions, he said,”It’s really my favorite thing to do! I don’t play video games, I devote my time to this. If you really want to get into it, I practice everyday with the show stick and everything.” Jacob said that he belonged to the Ohio Jr. Angus Association, where he says you can join and not necessarily belong to 4H or anything else. “There are kids from all over the state of Ohio involved. Oh my gosh! I’ve met so many people and have made numerous friendships, it is definitely one of the bigger parts of it, you meet so many people.”
Jacob say he plans to go to Oklahoma State University one day, and said that the reason he chose them is that of some of the colleges he has looked in to, he got the best report from them. He was quick to add that he has not visited any of them yet, as a freshman at Valley High School, but Oklahoma seems to the be the better of my four choices. “Right now, I’m probably looking at becoming a marketing agent” and is already at this young age, as he says, “pretty excited about it.”
In a world where it seems that kids spend little to no time outside or doing anything related to work or exercise, Jacob works everyday with his heifer, not only training her, but also taking care of the necessary things needed to raise an animal. He keeps the her area clean, washes and brushes the heifer, devoting his time to her. And, while some may think that sounds like a lot of work and not worth the time, Jacob thrives on that energy and makes it sound more like fun, than work.
Jacob’s father, Darren LeBrun, who happens to be the Scioto County Engineer, was raised in this area and grew up in 4H himself. Darren had spoken before about how he feels that it is so important for the young people in this area to be involved in something that they enjoy and can get involved in, rather than be out there with no drive or goal in mind. He said as a young boy, he remembers loving to be at the Scioto County Fair and said he has seen many young men and women thrive when working with their animals. These kids he has said, were those who were not involved in sports or the arts, some, had maybe even been in trouble at one time or another, but found that working with animals their niche in the world and discovered something they loved and enjoyed.
Darren was asked about the costs of all this for Jacob. “It can get a little expensive to travel to these shows, what with usually a hotel room and entry fees, but we try to what we can to budget and feel it’s a good investment. If you do well enough at a show, there are earnings and if you do really well, you can come out ahead. Usually with a reasonable finish, you can maybe break even, We look at it as it’s one of the things we do and it’s worth it.”
Darren too said that Jacob plans to go into something in the field of agriculture. “And, with the groups he can get involved in, like the Ohio Jr. Angus Association, he can get advice from them as for the way to go. We try to get him around people that have had success in this field, so he can get this advice and decide which direction he wants to go.”
As to what the LeBrun’s think Jacob will learn from these experiences, “That hard work pays off, if there is anything, that’s probably it, it’s easy to go to a show and not understand the hours that are put in by these kids and he’s seen this hard work pay off. He mentioned that with Jacob’s first calf, Jacob would get in with it and it would chase him around the barn. “For whatever reason, he was young at the time, they just didn’t click. That’s where Jacob has come from to this.”
“Ithink you can take different paths and we just went with agriculture with Jacob. Kelsey 11, and Eli 9, his sister and brother they like it, but not like Jacob.” He said that Jacob is a pretty easy guy to talk to and even adults like to come around and talk to him. His wife, Courtney and the rest of the family will go with Jacob and Darren, during the summer months, but during the school year, they are involved in sports and Courtney takes care of them on the home front.
Darren is truly invested in the youth in our area and wants to see our local kids involved. He was quick to say, that there are several kids in our area who show all year, not just his son, and how great he thinks that is, never leaving these other kids out.
Jacob LeBrun will be one of our local youth that will be hear about doing great things in the agricultural world. The ‘Little House on the prairie life may not be as all forgotten as some may think. At least, not in this area with its picturesque views surrounded by undulating hills and then some amazing kids that still find a love for the land and everything that entails.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928