Young Farmer Goes the Distance for His Longhorns

9/7/2013 7:00 AM
By Nicole Herman Reporter

Talk about grabbing life by the horns. Remington King, a freshman at Ohio State University, has already made a name for himself, primarily with his beloved 50-head herd of Texas Longhorn cattle. Thanks to them, as well as to his ambition to educate others about the breed, he’s won numerous awards and recognitions, started the Longhorn show at the York Fair in southeastern Pennsylvania as his senior project, and holds the pride of being a fourth-generation farmer.

Freshly graduated in June from Bermudian Springs High School, York Springs, Pa., King already misses his friends that he made during his years with his FFA chapter. His junior year, he was an officer and also the student council representative. When he became a senior, he stepped up to be president.

One of the many rewards he received during his time at high school was the chance to compete at the Pennsylvania FFA Convention, June 11-13, at Penn State. He came away with a beef placement proficiency award, a plaque and $250. To prepare for the competition, King, as herd manager at his family-owned organic farm — Latimore Valley Farms — had to keep track of breeding and herd records. As for any teenager, balancing school work, home work, farm work and a dream is mighty hard.

“There is always something to do,” King said recently. “It gets harder to find time. I would try to write down (the data) everyday, as much as I could, but there were times where one or two weeks would go past and I had to rush to record the information.”

With his win comes the opportunity to represent Pennsylvania in the beef placement proficiency category at the National FFA Convention this fall, Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, in Louisville, Ky. For King, the drive to Kentucky will start in Ohio before meeting up with five to six other Bermudian Springs High School FFA members to head south. It sounds like a taxing trip, but King is excited that there will be time to catch up with the Bermudian friends he left behind.

Once at the convention, King will be stuck in a waiting game as his records are judged for organization and completeness.

“I don’t really have much to do,” he said. “(I’ll) hope and pray it goes well.”

King said that FFA has provided him with many opportunities, including helping start his college career.

“(FFA is) a chance to meet new people,” King said. “If interested in agriculture, there is an event for it — for money, for experience — a little bit of everything for everyone. Since I am getting out of it, I want to see my brother (Quinton, a sophomore at Bermudian Springs High School) at the convention, and I hope to see if they’re putting on something better for the future generation.”

Always thinking about the future implications of his actions and the future of his farm, King is attending Ohio State University for engineering. He received a full-ride scholarship to attend, with his tuition for the next four years being paid as well as 75 percent of his room and board.

Asked about his choice to pursue engineering, King said it was a thought-out process. During his senior year in high school, his FFA chapter visited Krone Equipment — a company that sells hay and forage equipment — to learn more about the machines, network with industry leaders and check out the new products.

“That was when I was deciding what to do,” King said. “I was always big into the equipment — tractors and such — hopefully I’ll specialize in equipment, maybe get a job with (Krone) in the future.”

His family, an important part of King’s life, also had a say in what course of action he took when it came to college.

“My mother said I’d better go to school for something other than farming. If something happened to the farm, it’d be better to have different skills.”

With plans to one day takeover the family farm, King is in a good position to do so. He remembers when his father, Roger King, set up their farm, Latimore Valley Farms Inc., in 2000, as an organic operation.

“It was just becoming a popular thing, to be organic,” Remington King recalled. “We were at the head front and wanted to get ahead of it — be one of the first to do it. It made sense.” Not only that, but his sister, Samantha, 19, had asthma and found it hard to breathe around pesticides. The switch to organic seemed to be the best solution.

Since that time, Latimore Valley Farms has become quite a production. They sell “a little bit of everything,” he said.

Roger King grows the apples that are made into apple juice and applesauce; the farm’s varieties of vegetables are sold from Maine clear down to Florida; and grain and soybeans take root in the farm’s soil as well. In total, the Kings own about 500 acres.

Farming has been in Remington King’s blood for generations. His grandfathers on both sides of his family own 100 acres each that they’ve farmed, and his mother, Jodi King, farmed for some time.

The Longhorn cattle that King manages is one of the many things he misses while away at college. He quickly dismisses the idea that Longhorns have a temper, calling the idea a long-held “myth.”

“I rarely have a problem with them being mean,” he said. “We spend a lot of time with the calves, so that helps.

“I love the Longhorns and their colors. You never know what you’re going to get.”

He doesn’t like to play favorites, but his first bull, named Dbl Trouble, is attached to him “a bit,” as he puts it. The dark brown-and-white Longhorn was national high point bull winner in 2011. His pet steer, Field Marshal, has been to 25 shows across the country with King and is an elite Longhorn — meaning he has 200 points, the highest point level possible.

He hopes to make the most of his college career, but getting back to the farm is his highest priority.

“(College) is not something you want,” he said. “If I had a choice ...” he paused, “I wouldn’t go.” He mentions, however, that his future depends on the next four years. “The faster I get this over with, the faster I can get back to the farm.”

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