Herman Roberts

Herman Roberts

Leadership in FFA comes naturally to Herman Roberts.

As a junior he was president of his FFA chapter at Preston High School. As a senior he was president of the Southeast Idaho FFA district, and today he’s wrapping up a year as the Idaho state FFA president.

“It’s been super awesome to travel the state and to meet new people,” Roberts said. “FFA is a great opportunity for anyone and everyone. If they take that first step and get involved, I guarantee it’s the best choice they can make. FFA grows leaders and is so much more; it’s about competitions, community, traveling and scholarships and helps one grow in general.”

The state officer’s term was extended two months to allow time to plan for the annual meeting where new state officers are chosen. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will be held online.

“It’s been a challenge to create a virtual platform this year,” Roberts said. “But we’re trying to do the best with what’s happening right now. I think one day we’ll look back and appreciate the opportunity we had that no other team has had.”

This summer, Roberts, 18, who is among the eighth-generation of Bear Lake and Preston area farmers, will continue working on the family organic dairy where they also raise barley and alfalfa. Robert’s relatives originally came to the Bear Lake area from Wales and farmed there for three generations before moving to the Preston area. They’ve been in the Preston area ever since and today the family milks about 500 Holstein cows. Roberts’ job is moving pipe and managing irrigation systems — wheel lines and hand lines.

“I like moving pipe. It’s hard work and I remember complaining about it when I was younger, but I’ve come to appreciate the work I do on the farm and I enjoy seeing the crops grow on the irrigation side of the business,” Roberts said.

Three generations of the family farm together: his grandfather, Ellis Roberts; his parents, David and Kayla Roberts; and he and his five siblings. Recently, the family added a rotating platform to the dairy that improves efficiency enabling milking to be done three times a day.

“The farm teaches a lot more life lessons that you can’t find in many other different work environments. I have an inborn appreciation of the work farmers do and understand the relationship farmers have to the land,” he said.

Growing up Roberts raised and showed Holsteins in 4-H and FFA and one of many highlights was winning a round robin competition one year at the county fair.

“It was a family tradition to go to the county fair and prepping and presenting our dairy cows to show was another lesson on its own,” Roberts said. “Having that relationship with an animal and learning basic animal management is valuable.”

This fall Roberts will attend Utah State University, and while he doesn’t have a specific occupation in mind, he’ll major in food science.

“Chemistry was one of my favorite classes in high school. I loved it and I think agriculture and food science was a good mix of that and agriculture,” he said. “I want to stay in the ag sector because it’s given so much to me that I’d like to give back.”

John O’Connell at joconnell@journalnet.com.