We sat down and chatted with Chandler-Gilbert Community College student Kerian Faulkner about her recent Arizona National Livestock award and her new role as a livestock ambassador. Faulkner, an agribusiness sophomore, has spent more than half her life raising and showing market lambs on the local, state and national stages. In this interview, she shares her background in livestock and the important role it plays in her life.
Connection: Keiran, congratulations on your recent Arizona National Livestock Award. We are so excited for you! We want our readers to get to know a little bit about you and your passion for livestock. Describe your background in the livestock industry and its importance in your life.
Keiran: I have been raised in this industry and I can't ever remember a time in my life where Livestock wasn't involved. I began raising sheep in 2007 when I was 8 years old. I joined the Yuma Moos 4H group to begin showing lambs for Jackpot shows and the Yuma County Fair. As I continued my journey of showing lambs, I began showing at the Arizona State Fair, the Arizona National Livestock Show, and at shows all around Arizona through the Southern Arizona International Livestock Association (SAILA). When I entered high school, I became a member of the Cibola Future Farmers of America chapter through my high school agriculture program, which gave me the opportunity to submit my financial records to win awards through my sheep projects.
The livestock industry has had a massive impact on my life. In my years of state-wide travel to shows, I have met friends who have become family, and made memories that will last a lifetime. Through my years of raising and showing lambs, I have learned so many valuable life lessons. Raising livestock teaches young people the importance of financial record keeping, the responsibility of caring for a life besides your own, and the value that can be found in hard work and dedication. All of which make our youth ready for life in the real word.
Connection: How did you get involved in livestock shows?
Keiran: My family has been involved in the livestock industry for over 50 years; we have had everything from cattle, to sheep, to hogs, and even goats. My personal involvement in livestock shows began when I got my first lamb, Blueberry, back in 2007. I showed her at the Yuma SAILA and the Yuma County Fair. I will admit that while raising Blueberry, I was very much against showing after that year, but when fair time came around, I was fortunate enough to win Grand Champion Market Lamb at the County Fair, and I decided "hey, showing isn't so bad after all." From then on, I found a love in showing lambs, and continued to attend more and more livestock shows to better my skill and become more involved.
Connection: Describe the AZ National Livestock Show award and what it means to be an ambassador?
Keiran: As the Arizona National Livestock Show ambassador, I will be traveling across the state and country to promote the show to potential exhibitors. I will be attending county and state fairs, SAILA shows, and even a national show sometime in the fall. I will also attend meetings with the board that makes ANLS possible. Being selected as the ambassador also comes with being awarded a $2,000.00 scholarship which I will use towards my studies this year.
Connection: What, if any, future plans do you have in livestock shows?
Keiran: I don't have any specific plans set yet for future my involvement in stock shows, but I do want to be around this industry for the rest of my life. I know as I eventually have a family of my own, that I hope to raise my own children at stock shows, just as I was. I would definitely be interested in working for a major livestock show if the opportunity were to arise.
Thank you for sharing your story Keiran, and congratulations on your recent achievements! We at CGCC are proud to have you represent our college as a 2017 Arizona National Livestock Ambassador. We wish you much success in your role.