Despite not living on a farm, Johnna Duncan has found her place in the farming industry
Johnna Duncan knows one thing for certain – her family is willing to do whatever it takes to nurture her passion for agriculture.
The 16-year-old, animal-loving, softball-playing, high schooler lives in Fair Grove, Mo., with her parents Eric and Wanita Duncan, her older brother Jared, and her cats Smokey and Bandit.
“Since I was a little girl, animals were just my thing. Everyone would say, ‘She is the crazy animal girl,’’’ Johnna said with a chuckle.
Though Johnna doesn’t have any farm animals on her property, she finds ample opportunity to grow her passion for agriculture by helping her grandparents, Charles and Phyllis Todd, and her uncle and aunt, Robbie and Heather Todd, who own farms in Willard, Mo. Johnna splits wood, cares for pigs and works cattle at the family farms. She also enjoys riding her beloved Tennessee Walking horse.
Johnna’s love for working with animals quickly became apparent to her family. They encouraged her to join a 4-H club and take on an animal project.
“When I got older and could be in 4-H my uncle asked me if I would like to show pigs. I said, ‘Heck yeah, I love any kind of animals,’” Johnna recalled.
Johnna jumped head first into raising, caring and showing pigs. She keeps her pigs at her Uncle Robbie’s, where she’s made countless trips through the years to work with them. Johnna has learned how to AI her sows and how to assist them when they farrow.
Her show career started with Spots but has since branched to many other breeds, including Chesters, Polands, Yorkshires and Berkshires.
“My uncle wants me to have experience with all the breeds so I will know what kind of purebred breeds are out there,” Johnna explained.
This year Johnna’s show string includes Polands and a White Chester. Now that her younger cousins are old enough to show pigs, Johnna enjoys teaching them all she has learned.
“We try to go to as many county fairs as possible,” Johnna said.
The families will also show at the Ozark Empire Fair and the Missouri State Fair. This show season they are adding an even bigger show to their schedule.
“This year we are planning to go to the American Royal. We have some younger Poland gilts that are really good,” Johnna said.
In the years she’s been showing different pig breeds, Johnna has accrued many ribbons and honors. At the 2018 Missouri State Fair, Johnna won FFA Reserve Champion White Chester Boar. In addition, the Duncan and Todd families earned the Missouri State Fair Swine Herdsmen award in 2017.
As soon as Johnna started high school, she decided to get heavily involved in Fair Grove High School’s FFA program. She recently completed a year as parliamentarian of her FFA Chapter. Next year, as a high school junior, she will serve as historian.
“I want to stay as involved as I can with FFA, especially through my high school career. It’s something that I really enjoy,” Johnna stated. “In Fair Grove, our FFA program is like a family,” she added.
During the 2018-2019 school year, Johnna competed in local and state FFA competitions. She achieved fourth place in public speaking in the district and sixth place in the state for her record book. In her record book she keeps all the receipts, bills, and paperwork associated with owning and raising her pigs. She has also earned the honor of attending the National FFA Convention two years in a row.
In the future Johnna wants to expand her agricultural knowledge through showing cattle and learning to rake hay. Johnna’s FFA goals include earning her State FFA Degree and increasing her responsibilities in the Fair Grove chapter.
One of Johnna’s long-term aspirations entails an occupation in animal science. Johnna knows when she combines her passion for agriculture and her strong support from family, she possesses a path to success.