LENTNER, Mo. — When he grows up, Brock Watson says he wants to be a farmer.
He might want to consider photography.
The 6-year-old from Lentner was a winner in the 2023 Focus on Missouri Agriculture Photo Contest, taking honorable mention for his photo titled “Our Red Barn” in the Kid’s Corner category.
“It looked good,” Brock said. “I like the red barn. It’s my favorite barn on the farm.”
The barn is the oldest on the farmland that’s been in Brock’s family for more than 150 years — and it’s just across the field from South Shelby Elementary School where he will be in first grade when classes start in August.
Brock snapped the photo on his mom’s phone one day while they were riding around on the Gator. She’d heard about the contest and thought it might be a fun summertime activity for Brock to enter.
“We have lots of special places on the farm. It’s easy to take pictures,” Brock’s mom Maggie Watson said. “He did a good job. We thought he took some good pictures.”
But Watson and her husband Jordan, and her parents Jeanna and Kenny Rutter, still were surprised, and excited, when Brock was one of the winners.
“The photos submitted in this year’s photo contest showcase the depth and breadth of agriculture in Missouri,” Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said in a news release.
“These pictures help us tell the agriculture story with accuracy. They are also a beautiful depiction of life on the farm and give viewers a glimpse into our lifestyle to show why we do what we do.”
Photos submitted by individuals 13 and older were placed in four categories – Beauty of the Farm, Faces of the Farmer, Around the Barnyard and Everyday Life. Photographers age 12 and under entered their shots in the Kids’ Corner category.
Brock hopes to see more young people get involved in the contest.
“Because they might win,” he said. “It was fun.”
A panel of three judges from the agriculture industry selected 21 winning photos, which will be on display in the Agriculture Building throughout the Missouri State Fair, slated for Aug. 10 to 20 in Sedalia.
The Watsons plan a trip to the fair to see Brock’s photo on display. In the meantime, Brock plans to keep busy on the farm.
“I help my dad feed the cattle,” he said. “When he’s planting, I like riding in the tractor.”
The Watsons raise cattle, corn and soybeans. The red barn is used for storage now, but in the past, the family used it to process seed corn and to house cattle.
“Our whole family is so involved in the farm — for generations we have been on both sides of my family — and we’re so excited he’s interested in farming, too,” Watson said.
“He enjoys spending time with his Pops and his dad, his grandma and me doing stuff on the farm,” she said. “Photography is a fun way to show things that happen day-to-day on the farm, stuff he sees firsthand, and we can share that with others.”