The business of agriculture is in one rural Ionia woman’s blood. Hannah Anderson, 19, began a rabbit business at age 8, her first step to majoring in agribusiness management this fall.

Before Anderson, the 2018 Cole Camp Fair Queen, attends the University of Missouri-Columbia, she will stay busy during the Missouri State Fair. She competed in the MSF Queen Pageant this week and will show her rabbits with her sister Brooke, 16, next week. Anderson is also showing her artwork and family-cured hams at the Fair.

Her journey into ag began with the Anderson Bunny Farm and moved forward at a rapid pace.

“I went to the Missouri State Fair and bought a rabbit there,” she said smiling. “My sister bought a rabbit too, so we had a pair. So, we started our own rabbit business and it grew to about 50 rabbits.”

Anderson began showing the rabbits on a state and national level.

“I shipped them out all over the country and that got me into 4-H,” she said.

She then began to show family-cured hams, dogs and waterfowl. After she started attending high school she joined the Future Farmers of America where she served as treasurer, historian, secretary and president. This past year she also served as the Area VII FFA Secretary.

While at MU, she plans to major in agribusiness management and minor in animal science with the plan to eventually own her own cattle farm. But, it’s the changing face of ag that’s spurring her to become a farm advocate.

“I’m really passionate about the livestock industry,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of false media out there about it. A lot of people get led astray from what it actually is and they look at the bad aspects of it. But they don’t actually go to a farm …”

Anderson, who received 11 college scholarships, is looking toward the future of agriculture.

“There’s a lot of challenges,” she noted. “Especially with all the new products they are coming up with. Like the plant-based meat, it is definitely putting a hurt on the agriculture industry.”

She added many people don’t understand GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, and don’t actually research the subject. She believes more information should be provided so people can better understand the concepts of GMO food sources.

Anderson recently attended an animal science leadership conference this summer at MU where she gave a presentation about genetically modified organisms. She said the conference provided information on how pigs’ DNA could be modified to prevent certain diseases in swine.

“It was super interesting to know,” she said.

Once she receives her degree, she plans to begin her career by doing livestock sales.

“Specifically, beef cattle,” she said. “Then have my own farm eventually and market that too.”

She became interested in cattle at age 10 when her parents, Stace and Jani Anderson, began raising them.

“My sister and I each bought a cow with the money we’d saved up from our rabbits,” Anderson said. “From each calf, we put it (the money) into a college account. So, I’ve really grown to like the cattle industry and I also want to help feed the world too. With the growing population, we definitely need more people who want to farm.”

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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