Will Harper harvests FFA Agribusiness award – Leominster Champion

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By Ken Cleveland

The Item

LANCASTER – “Farming is definitely my passion in life,” Uilleam “Will” Harper said. “It’s the only way I know and what I want.”

His commitment and expertise has been helped by growing up in a farming family, the sixth generation of Harper farmers.

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Others have taken note as well, with Harper receiving a Star Agribusiness Award at the Massachusetts Future Farmers of America convention April 4.

The award came from his demonstrated abilities and how he has grown in the field over the years.

Among the skills that contributed to the award, Harper said, were his efforts in a mobile repair operation, landscaping and field mowing.

This all while he has attended the Norfolk County Agricultural High School, or “The Aggie,” as students and grads refer to the public agricultural school.

“Last year, I had a really big year and accomplished a lot,” the 18-year-old said. “There is definitely a lot of real world experience and life skills that come from the Aggie,” where he is an agricultural mechanics major.

“They teach how to fend for yourself and be the best guy on the field,” Harper said, and help connect with people in the industry.

“My father (Steve) and uncle (Dave) have been a huge inspiration my whole life,” Harper said, quickly adding his grandfather as an inspiration.

Though living in Lancaster, he has a lot of connections with Leominster, where his grandfather, Ray Harper, had served as a popular mayor.

“Looking back, that’s how I want to be as well. I hope I’m making him proud.”

He added that his mother was “a huge part of the farm, encouraging me to take over the farm.”

The award “meant a lot to me,” Harper said, adding a special part of winning.

“I have a pin, a cow pin, from my grandfather. I put it on the inside of the FFA jacket two nights before.”

Though he had no idea he was winning until the announcement, “I thought he was with me (that) night.”

The Star Award “definitely meant a lot to me. I’m very proud to receive such an honor.”

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