PLEASANTON, Neb. — Summer break is here but it's no vacation for farm kids including a Pleasanton teen who's hatched a business that sizzles.
Minutes after the final school bell, Claire Ahrens traded in her backpack for a feed bucket.
Sports are done and now she gears up for county fair competition.
"Your teammate is a thousand-pound animal you have to work with all summer,” she said.
She has started a small herd that's helped her see how beef goes from pasture to plate. "I really like knowing how it's grown, how it's fed, from birth to harvest,” Claire said.
Customers come back for her ribeyes and t-bones. "We are never going back to store bought meat because this is so delicious,” she said of her customer’s comments.
Along with her brother Calton they've hatched a business.
“We call it steak and eggs, beef and poultry,” Calton said.
To expand her customer base she'll be taking her cattle to a federally inspected butcher which allows her to sell individual cuts.
“They can order online and ship it,” she said.
She has the support of her high school ag teacher but around the farm, he's just dad.
“She puts in the hours and time,” said Heath Ahrens.
He taught in Ravenna for 17 years before planting the ag program in Pleasanton last year. Heath has deep roots in the community with his own family farm nearby and FFA has blossomed with dozens of kids and their own greenhouse.
“We put up the walls and poured the cement,” Claire said as she stood in the greenhouse.
Claire also takes part in 4-H which gave her the opportunity to be part of the fed steer challenge. She’s also part of Buffalo County Extension’s BRAG program that allows 4-H youth to learn more about ag related businesses and build leadership skills.
And not only is Heath an ag teacher his wife works for the USDA and their four kids all pitch in around the farm.
Claire was recently awarded a grant from the Nebraska FFA Foundation to grow her business and get a deeper look beyond the burger.
“What supply and demand is like what prices are like big picture on a small scale,” said Heath.
Make no mistake this isn't dad's project. Claire does the heavy lifting with a real-world experience opening new opportunities.