Brittani Burke received a national FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) Silver award in Proficiency in Diversified Livestock Production. She received it in June, the same month she graduated from high school. In all four years, as a student at the Suffield Regional Agriscience Center, she excelled in her diversified livestock project – raising beef, sheep and swine as a business enterprise. She raised, bred, showed, marketed and sold her animals and their embryos throughout the United States and Canada. For the project, she was required to keep records of income, expenses, hours worked, goals, outcomes, skills and efficiencies. Through her hard work, Brittani demonstrated responsibility, management and leadership skills. She had to maintain high grades and be actively involved in the FFA. Brittani was an officer in the local chapter. She also had to win the State award, which she did with aplomb.
Sarah Oliver, her teacher at the Agriscience Center, wrote “She is an amazingly hard-working young woman who is dedicated to her farm and livestock projects. She is continually looking for ways to learn and grow her projects through genetics, showing and marketing of her animals. It has been an honor to have her in our Suffield Agriscience Program, and I loved watching her grow her leadership through FFA.”
And there’s more. Brittani is also the Connecticut State Star Farmer for 2020. In late September, she will compete in a regional competition virtually hosted by the Big E where she will be interviewed by a panel of judges. If she wins that event, she’ll be competing at the national level, also in a virtual event.
Despite all her excitement about her numerous awards, Brittani is devastated by the cancellations of agricultural conferences and shows, including the Big E, due to the coronavirus. This year, because of the virus, she spent a lot of time with her livestock. They look great and she wanted to show them off. But she is proud of her achievements, as are her parents, Christa and William Burke, and looking forward to school and a career. She will be attending the University of Illinois to get a degree in animal science, agribusiness and nutrition. And then she plans to return to the family farm, Burke Ridge Farm, located in Ellington and South Windsor which at this time has 175 cows, 35 pigs, 12 ewes and this year – some ducks.
Over the phone, Brittani muses that maybe the farm should add some chickens. And Burke Ridge Farm, with its lush and scenic views, would make a nice site for wedding venues. She would like to offer a farm to table menu. And she would like to help other farmers market their products. Brittani has plans. It is clear that she will have a lot more projects in her future.