By NetWork Kansas
Jena Kunc and Dylan White competed in the 2018-2019 YEC Series in Republic County and placed third. Through K-State's executive summary open review, they earned a wild card spot to compete at the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge. In April 2019, they won an honorable mention in the Agriculture Division of the KEC State Championship. Below Jena talks about how this program has influenced her as an entrepreneur.
Q: Describe your business and how it's grown since participating in the YEC Series.
A: "My business is a small farming operation that consists of raising and selling goats and raising chickens, quail, ducks, geese and turkeys to sell eggs, and to hatch for others to enjoy, along with a large garden to provide my community with fresh produce. After the KEC state championship, I purchased an abandoned building that we are working on renovating into a farmer's market and supply store to share the passion with others. Due to the recent rain and wind storms, I have not been able to work on the building as much as I hoped to this summer since there are so many farm chores and repairs that have needed to be done. Slowly but surely, it is coming together."
Q: What were your key takeaways from participating?
A: "Since I participated in the local YEC and state KEC, I have been able to inform others about my farming operation and allow myself to grow along with others. I enjoy letting people know about farming and teaching them about how farming affects them each and every day. Also, since the KEC, I have added the vacant building to my operation, and am currently working on purchasing the farms neighboring property to allow more room for pens for new animals, such as cows and alpacas. The prize money won at both YEC and KEC has been used to purchase the building and to add rock to the farm's driveways before they become a muddy mess this winter. The remaining prize money will be used to purchase new animals and for greenhouse construction in the future. I really enjoyed participating in the KEC because I got to meet so many great people that are supportive of my operation and are willing to help in any way possible."
Q: What are your plans to grow your business in the future?
A: "With the purchase of the vacant building and pending purchase of the neighboring property, I plan to expand my operation greatly in the new few years. I am a high school senior this coming school year, so I am holding off on expanding too much until after I graduate. I plan to attend Cloud County Community College in the Fall of 2020 and major in Diversified Agricultural Management and Production to allow myself more knowledge about animal science and horticulture. While in college, I plan to keep my operation running as the college is only a short 35 minute drive from the farm. Overall, I greatly enjoyed participating in the YEC and KEC this past year and have learned so much about running a successful business, along with meeting and working with wonderful people that are willing to help in any way possible. I am very excited to participate in both events next Spring!"
You can view Otter Creek Farms' Facebook page here.
To learn more about bringing the YEC Series to your community, contact your NetWork Kansas Regional Manager.
Stay tuned for more information about the 2019-2020 YEC Series!