Missouri Farmers Care
With Pakey Matthew’s outgoing personality and knack for agriculture business, the high school junior fields calls from multiple states with interest in his specialty livestock business. Pakey raises and shows Angus cattle and Babydoll sheep near Fredericktown in Agri-Ready Designated Madison County. His Animal Ownership SAE “Pakey’s Farms” also includes chinchillas, tortoises and more. Pakey’s business acumen is proof of the POWER of youth entrepreneurship in Missouri agriculture…..
Pakey’s Farm manages a menagerie of specialty livestock that Pakey buys, breeds, and sells. He has chinchillas, alpacas, hedgehogs, miniature cows, miniature donkeys, and he keeps goats seasonally. In the past, he has raised animals as diverse as sugar gliders and an American alligator. While he has raised different fish species, he is currently acclimating his tanks so he can get stingrays. He has purchased and hatched tortoise eggs and has a breeding pair of Sulcata tortoises, the third largest tortoise in the world. He is waiting for his female to lay a clutch of eggs soon. “I cater to hobby farmers or backyard farms, people who are looking for something unusual and cute. I have learned how to talk to people to market my products,” Pakey said. He has waiting lists for some of the stock he is raising.
Pakey maintains a herd of 55 cows he has been building since he was 9 years old. He enjoys showing them at large shows around the country such as the American Royal, Junior Nationals, and the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE). “When you show animals for a whole week, there is a lot of time to make connections. My phone number gets passed out because of the unique things I do, and I get calls from states away about interest in my specialty livestock,” Pakey said. He also has a flock of the famously cute Babydoll sheep which he shows on a smaller scale just for fun. “I have been accused of showing the sheep because girls like them. And sometimes that may be true,” he jokes with a smile.
With his communication skills and business acumen, Pakey was one of thirty Missouri sophomores chosen to become a member of the 2023 Missouri Agribusiness Academy, hosted by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. The class spent a week of June touring a variety of agribusinesses. The 2023 Academy Tour focused on the St. Louis area, with an extra trip to the bootheel region. Pakey was encouraged to apply for MAbA by his FFA Advisors who had applied to the Academy themselves years ago.
After high school, Pakey’s goal is to pursue an Animal Science degree. He may specialize in reproduction through AI (artificial insemination) or embryology and he has considered vet school, so the MAbA tour at Missouri University appealed to him. Pakey recognized a theme throughout the entire tour. “I appreciated seeing the different sectors of agriculture and the sales perspectives of those various businesses,” he said. “My eyes were opened to how every agriculture business has different marketing and sales that cater to their consumers.”
While the Academy aims to exhibit paths to career success, it also serves as an unforgettable experience that bonds thirty young, excited agriculturists from across Missouri. “I enjoyed how the classmates all had agriculture in common and we really clicked. When my mom picked me up on Friday, it felt like it was still Monday. I enjoy learning by experience. I feel at home at agriculture events, and that is important to me,” Pakey said.
Pakey is the only child of Rodney Matthews and Lisa Hufford-Matthews. His FFA advisors at the Fredericktown FFA Chapter are Mr. Mike Graham, Ms. Laura Bittle, and Mr. Rusty Allgier. Pakey currently serves as a co-treasurer of the Fredericktown FFA Chapter. He is a member of Bear Creek Kids 4-H Club, and Ms. Alisha Carrow is his 4-H leader. Pakey also participates in Beta, an academic service club, at school. He is a member of the National Junior Angus Association and the Olde English Babydoll Southdown Registry. He is also a member of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, a partner of Missouri Farmers Care.