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First Brother Farms
A lot of 16-year old kids have jobs, but Seth Hilfiker of Holtville, California owns his own business. Seth is the oldest of seven brothers, and founded a company called “1st Brother Farms” when he was 14. He’s been showing goats, sheep, pigs, and steers in FFA and 4-H, and decided to sell competitive show stock to junior showmen in California and Arizona. He also provides livestock services such as hoof care, show preparation, and livestock transportation.
"My freshman year in high school, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know if I was going to go toward production farming or toward the livestock background. An older man, somebody that I pretty much talk to every day he’s almost like my advisor, gave me the idea that I should probably start selling livestock. So, my freshman year was a trial year and it went very well," says Seth. "Since my freshman year I’ve gotten 3-4 times bigger than my first trial year."
Seth takes agriculture classes through his high school, but he’s also found that when you’re the boss, there are valuable lessons to learn in gaining customer trust.
"I think it’s just kind of relating to people that, you know, I’m trying to help them out. Some people think that I’m a little bit too young, I’m only 16, so you can see where that comes from," he says. "But I think after my first couple years, especially after my freshman and sophomore years of doing this, I’ve had a lot more people start to gain their trust, and I think that’s where most of the sales come from."
Seth markets his business using social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and has his own website. His successful business and enthusiasm earned him the 2018 California state FFA Star in Agribusiness award.