Illinois Pork Ambassador: The benefit of NOT growing up on a farm

A junior majoring in ag business and animal industry management at Illinois State University tells Brownfield you can play a role in the ag industry, regardless of your background.

Zach Perkins of Millbrook, Illinois says growing up he feared he would not fit in the ag industry because he did not grow up on a farm. Now he serves as the Illinois Pork Ambassador and encourages youth with a similar background.

“Use that to your advantage. I went to a small high school and only had about 40 kids in my class. I was one of two ag people and I had friends on both sides. So, I relayed all of the information I learned through my friends in the ag industry to those people who did not know much about ag. So, I was kind of the middle man.”

He says he has noticed sometimes consumers have a hard time connecting with a farmer who has been in the business their whole life.

“You know, I can say no, I have not grown with this all of my life, my family has not been doing this for 100 years. I am just a friend of theirs and so I am learning just as much as them.”

Perkins says his involvement in 4-H and FFA helped form his passion for the pork industry and hopes the network he creates as a pork ambassador will help him decide on a future career.

Brownfield interviewed Perkins at the 2020 Illinois Pork Expo in Springfield.

Interview with Zach Perkins
  • I think he is very handsome! So nice to see all his progress. It’s nice to see all the work he as accomplished even though he doubted all of this could not be possible in his earlier years of life. Way to go Zach, you’re now a pork ambassador as well! What a gift. Best wishes Zach, you’ve got this all in your hands.

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