VAN HORNE, Iowa (KCRG) - A senior from Benton Community keeps his family and farm close to his heart. Carl Gerhold IV has made his FFA classroom a second home. At lunchtime, he shares stories with his fellow FFA members while planning the group's next event. "It's the most time consuming, but it's what I live for,” says Gerhold. “I have a passion for agriculture."
It’s a passion that has been around for generations. "All the Carl Gerholds have farmed,” he says. “We've lived on the same farm and done about the same thing.”
The family raises beef cattle on a farm just outside of Atkins. He grew up helping around the farm. “I cherish all those moments, with my family, going out and working with the cows and everything,”
Gerhold is the beef chair of the Spring Livestock show and built a display to represent his FFA chapter at state. "In the past we've just done a tri-fold display. But this year, we decided to go all out and build a barn,” he says.
“He took the idea and ran with it and ended up getting a gold at state,” says Krystal Wright, an agriculture instructor and FFA advisor.
As FFA president, he teaches third graders about farming, spoke at the Celebration of Agriculture Banquet and met Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey. When fires burned through farms in Kansas, Gerhold organized Members helping Neighbors to support fellow farmers. "We ended up raising $4,000 to send down for those people to rebuild their fence lines,” says Wright.
Gerhold’s dad wanted him to carry on the family tradition. But after a job shadow at St. Luke's in Cedar Rapids, he plans to follow his mom's path into health care. "My mom is a social worker for St. Luke's in the emergency department and that's where I hope to work someday as a physician,” he says.
“Carl has that compassion that his parents have instilled in him, that he's carried with him, and will continue to carry with him,” says Wright. "Whoever gets him when he is a doctor is going to be really lucky to have him.”
He may be the first Carl Gerhold to break from tradition, but he won't stray far from his roots and the farm that raised him. "I found a balance in between them, where eventually I do want to help on the farm but I want to be in healthcare,” he says. “I love caring for animals and all that, but my ultimate passion is caring for people."