‘Agriculture is everything’

Allen Community College freshman Aidan Yoho took first place in a Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Manhattan. He'll move on to represent Kansas in a national competition in Omaha.


Local News

March 5, 2024 - 1:14 PM

Allen Community College student Aidan Yoho competes in the Collegiate Discussion Meet at the 2024 Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Manhattan. Yoho earned first place with his performance. Courtesy photo

“I’m proud to be a part of the 2% that feeds the other 98%,” declared Aidan Yoho about his experience in farming. 

Agriculture has been an integral part of Aidan Yoho’s life from a young age. He began showing livestock when he was just 18 months old. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

A freshman at Allen Community College, Yoho recently won first place in the Collegiate Discussion Meet at the 2024 Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Manhattan. Nearly 500 registered participants gathered at the conference to discuss pressing issues and showcase their talents.

The event is a forum where participants engage in mock committee meetings to discuss various agricultural topics, ranging from advocacy to policy. “You are judged on cooperation, knowledge of the topics, and the value you add to the conversation,” he said.

His performance secured him not only the top honor, but also a prize of $500 and an expense-paid trip to the national conference in Omaha, where he will represent Kansas.

Yoho said his deep-rooted passion for agriculture and experience in FFA and 4-H equips him well for the challenge.

AGRICULTURE has been a central part of Yoho’s life from a young age. Yoho grew up in rural Yates Center, the son of Quentin and Hollie Yoho, who farm and raise livestock.

He found his calling early on, participating in livestock shows and engaging in various agricultural activities. “Agriculture is everything that I do,” Yoho said. “I started showing livestock when I was 18 months old when my dad put me in the show ring. That’s only because my mom wouldn’t let him put me in any sooner.”

Aidan Yoho served as the Kansas State Secretary for FFA from 2022, until he retired from the role last June. Courtesy photo

As a teen, Yoho started running his own cattle. “That’s what I do full-time besides school,” he noted. “I run cattle and hay with my dad and grandfather. My plan is to come back home and run the family farm.”

His great-grandfather has been a big driving force behind his passion for agriculture. “He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes of the cattle operation,” Yoho noted. “He helped set me up for success for when I come back home to farm after college.”

Yoho was a member of the Eager Beaver 4-H Club for 13 years and was active in Woodson County 4-H. “When Woodson County joined Southwind, I was active in livestock judging,” he said. This led to him being an FFA member for all four years of high school. “I’m still currently an active member because I’m getting my American Degree this year,” he added.

His journey through FFA and 4-H paved the way for leadership roles and invaluable experiences, including serving as a district officer for two years. Most recently, he served as the Kansas FFA state secretary. Yoho retired from the role last June.

“There’s a lot of things that were my niche,” he said. “In FFA, it was the public speaking events. Anything that dealt with speaking, I really appreciated. I competed in almost every single career development event that there was, and I enjoyed them all.”

Yoho has shown livestock all over the country. His favorite event is Kansas City’s American Royal. “It’s always a great time because of the quality, as well as all of the people you meet,” he said. “I also enjoyed the Kansas State Fair, Kansas Junior Livestock Show, and Woodson County Fair. That’s where I got my start.”

Despite his successes, Yoho acknowledges the challenges facing young farmers, particularly in navigating economic uncertainties and rising costs. “One of the biggest challenges in agriculture is making ends meet — making a dollar,” he explained.

“For young farmers to get started, it’s almost impossible,” he said of the costs involved. “Commodities have increased by about 80%, but our inputs have also increased. A new combine has increased in price by 400%; land has increased by 200%; and other inputs are up by 150%.”