By Katie Aikins, Arizona Farm Bureau Education Director: Hickman’s Family Farms feeds over 9 million laying hens, but that does not stop them from feeding a few more! Each month, a Hickman’s truck pulls into the Agriculture Facility at Westwood High School in Mesa to deliver a balanced feed ration for students to feed to their growing flock.

Monthly, a Hickman's Family Farm feed truck shows up at Westwood High School with feed for the vocational agriculture students' chickens.

The student-managed flock now includes 100 laying hens. Jimmy Wojcik, Westwood High School FFA Teacher, can’t say enough about the Hickman donation. “Without Hickman’s Family Farm supplying the feed, we would not be as successful in our school operation.”

The funds saved on feed are being used to improve the cage-free environment for the birds.

The laying-hen operation allows students in Vet Science classes to examine and evaluate birds for health and provide needed health checks. Students enrolled in the Animal Science classes work to develop a marketing plan and business to sell the eggs provided by the flock.

Westwood High School’s laying hen operation “provides more than just eggs. It provides students with the opportunity to become entrepreneurs and acquire skills that will ensure they will be successful employees,” says Sharman Hickman of Hickman’s Family Farms. “We are excited about the opportunity to help.”

Editor’s Note: HB 2229 in Arizona’s Legislature is intended to clear up some of the language that was used when last year’s legislature restored most of the funding for Joint Technical Education Districts (JTEDs). It has passed the House and Senate Appropriations. Please encourage the passing of HB2229 to ensure that funding is in place so that quality education can continue through our High School Agriculture Education programs.

Join our Family!