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Justin Horton of Bloomer works on four farms around the Bloomer and Chippewa Falls area. He hopes to someday own his own farm and operate a cash cropping operation.

Justin Horton of Bloomer didn’t grow up on a farm, but he has a passion for agriculture seldom seen among teenagers today.

“This young man is outstanding. He works for four different farms in the Bloomer/Chippewa Falls area seven days a week and attends high school,” said his mother, Lisa Horton. “Farming is not given the credit it deserves, and this young man lives, breathes and works hard at making sure it is all done right.”

Justin Horton’s interest in farming started when he was little and would spend time on his grandparents’ farm.

“My grandfather was a farmer, and I loved listening to his stories,” he said.

Eventually, listening to those stories transitioned into a farm job.

“Several years ago, a neighbor of my grandparents’ was looking for someone to milk cows, and that is where I started,” Horton said. “Then I went to my friend’s uncle’s house and started doing field work, and that is where I started really enjoying life on the farm.”

Today, Horton works on several farms, including Steve and Karl Wall’s farm and Fashingbauer Farms, filling numerous roles in the day-to-day farming operations.

“At Wall’s, I milk cows seven days a week and I also help with the fieldwork and harvesting,” Horton said. “At Fashingbauer Farms, I haul corn and assist with planting, harvesting and working on fixing equipment.”

Karl Wall said he has really seen Horton grow in his abilities and love for agriculture since he started working there in March 2017.

“At the time, he was 15 years old and had to get a ride to and from work,” Wall said. “Having the ambition that he does, he was always on time and ready to work.

“Justin has a great work ethic. He is full time in high school and gets up three mornings per week to help with chores before school. On the days he doesn’t work before school, he helps with afternoon chores. In the year and a half that he has been working with us, (Justin) has rarely taken a day off.”

With past experience working with animals and farm equipment, Horton quickly picked up on the farm’s milking procedures, calf feeding routine, bedding animals and other chores.

“There really isn’t a job on the farm that he isn’t capable of performing,” Wall said. “When he sees something that needs to be done, he takes care of it without being asked, which is very helpful.

“He is very observant and keeps a close eye on the animals as they are eating or when he is milking and detects when we have one that is sick so we can promptly deal with it.”

In addition to being a quick learner, Wall said, it has been nice having Horton around to do evening chores during the busier fall and spring seasons, allowing the Walls to keep working in the fields. He said Horton also took the initiative to learn how to drive semi so that he could haul grain.

“He is very cautious but very capable when running equipment, which has been a great asset, not having to worry about things getting damaged and reduced down time,” Wall said.

Lisa Horton said ever since her son was little, he was always on the go, so it only makes sense that he continues to keep busy.

“Justin is very loyal to the farmers that he works for, he is always there for them, even in the spur of the moment,” she said. “I grew up on a farm and it melts my heart to see the passion that he has for the farm.”

Justin Horton said working on the farms is a lot of work but something that is very rewarding.

“I love working on and fixing machinery and all the equipment on the farm. I love operating all of the equipment such as the semi, tractors, combines — any equipment that I am asked to operate,” he said.

Besides working with mechanics, Horton also has a soft spot for a red Angus named Dolly, who he rescued shortly after birth.

“Justin and Jordan (Faschingbauer) brought it into the shed and kept her there for several weeks,” Lisa Horton said. “She was bottle-fed and she is now a pet. She will follow them around the farm just like a puppy. She is now approximately 600 pounds.”

Justin Horton said he sees a lot of the challenges smaller farmers are facing with low crop and milk prices.

He said although Wisconsin has always been a big farming state, he doesn’t see that being the case anymore with all the struggles farmers face in making a go of it.

Despite those challenges, he still dreams of owning a farm of his own someday.

“I am planning on attending a technical college for ag business and diesel mechanic,” Horton said. “My heart is in farming, I enjoy being outside, in a tractor, combine or anything to do with the farm.”

Wall said he hopes Horton will be able to pursue his passion for agriculture and reach his dreams.

“With his ability and work ethic, there isn’t anything (Horton) couldn’t do if he chose to. It has been a pleasure to work with him and I hope we get to continue working together in the future,” Wall said.

Jordan Faschingbauer echoed many of Wall’s comments of working with Horton, saying his work ethic is amazing and he is able to pick up pretty much any job they throw at him.

He added it has been great working with him over the years.

“Justin thinks the same way that I do, and to be able to work alongside someone that shares the same passion in farming is awesome,” Faschingbauer said. “We both can have our worst day on the farm, but we can’t wait until tomorrow comes to be back on the farm. When you love what you do as much as he does, it doesn’t feel like work.”