Hunnicutts Give Young Farmers a National Voice


Family farms don't have PR departments or marketing campaigns, but then there are guys like Zach Hunnicutt, sharing the farm story through Instagram and Twitter from the cab of his tractor.
He said, "I'm just a colorblind farmer out here in Nebraska who likes taking pictures and showing people who beautiful Nebraska can be." Hunnicutt is at the forefront, as a media and tech savvy corn grower giving a voice to young farmers. "Instead of all being out there shouting into the wind on our own, we can get together and makes voices heard," he said. As chair of American Farm Bureau's Young Farmer and Rancher Committee, he has a national platform to talk about the issues farmers in their 20's and 30's face. "We're all at an age where we're trying to get established," he explained.
With million dollar dirt, Nebraska's at the epicenter of seismic changes that have seen farm land prices shake the market like never before.
So how's a young family supposed to get their start at a time when the nation needs more farmers?
Zach and his wife Anna were fortunate to partner with family -- namely his dad Daryl and brother Brandon.
But only after time in Kansas City in the world of advertising. Zach said, "My dad wanted my brother and I to spend a couple years away from the farm to make sure we got exposed to other things and make sure we really wanted to farm."
Anna grew up in a McCook farm family. She was a town kid, but helped her dad "irrigate and drive tractor and that stuff."
And she knew the farm is where they wanted to raise their kids. She said, "They're getting the opportunity to spend time with their dad but also getting educated where there food comes from, why we do the things we do."
For every farmer their age, there are a half dozen over 65. They say the nation needs more young growers. Zach said, "Agriculture's one industry that can never go away as long as people need to eat."
Zach's also on the board of something called Ag Chat, using social media to connect with consumers or companies that may paint farmers in a negative light. "I appreciate Zach and Anna in that regard," Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said, saying the Hunnicutts are great spokespeople for agriculture.
They also take their message to Capitol Hill, representing young farmers and ranchers in farm bill discussions.
Zach was even invited to the hip South by Southwest tech conference in Austin, Texas two years ago to explain how farmers are using Twitter.
And for the Hunnicutts, that means reaching out to those who may be critical of modern agriculture.
"We're right there in the same arena putting those ideas out there. We can engage with them and with people, give them a different perspective," he said. They're also able to give established farmers a different perspective, as a young couple that has embraced technology to become more efficient.
But Zach says the generation gap isn't that big, as farmers young and old share the same passion. "You can't beat the way of life and can't beat this job," he said.
NTV honors Zach and Anna Hunnicutt as the Farm Family of the Month for August. Zach and Anna have two kids, Everett and Adeline, with another child due this fall.