Chicken loss motivated young entrepreneur, PM youth awardee Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Nineteen-year-old Carlton Bell Jr is still overjoyed after winning the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for excellence in agriculture last Saturday at Jamaica House. 

The Calabar High School past student said he was pleased to be honoured, which is a testament to his hard work.

“I was happy because I know that every nominee is doing great things, and for me to be chosen as one of the awardees means that my hard work is really paying off.

“This award symbolises that there is nothing in life that you cannot achieve when you work hard. In addition, it symbolises that my hard work is being recognised at the highest level, and this motivates me to continue working towards achieving my goals,” Bell said.

The young man, who is a first-year banking and finance student at The University of the West Indies, Mona, shared that agriculture comes with great risks and losses, but it requires tenacity to push forward.

“One defining moment for me was when we lost an entire batch of chickens due to fridge failure, which resulted in a major setback for the business, and it really made me doubt whether I should continue.

However, as a business student and an entrepreneur at heart, I know that business involves risks, so sometimes we will lose, and other times we will win.

“This understanding helped me navigate through that challenging period,” he explained.

Young Carlton Bell Jr gives a virtual tour of his farm in Scotts Hall, St Mary, and talks about his plans for the business.

The Scotts Hall, St Mary resident, who is the owner of Scotts Hall’s Farms, which he started when he was 16 years old, credits his love for agriculture for his early exposure, as well as the support of his parents, Carlton Bell Sr and Carolyn White.

“I spent a lot of time outside, planting and caring for various crops, which eventually evolved into a passion for agribusiness. This early exposure to farming laid the groundwork for my career and shaped my success today.

“My parents were instrumental in guiding me on the right path, emphasising the importance of education and personal integrity. Their support and encouragement pushed me to pursue my dreams responsibly,” he noted.

A smiling Carlton Bell Jr is flanked by his mother Carolyn White (right) and sister Moesha McCoy after receiving the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for excellence in agriculture recently.

Scotts Hall’s Farms has livestock such as chickens, goats, and pigs, and crops such as plantains and pumpkin. Bell, through his company, currently has two full-time and four part-time employees. 

One of his employees, 65-year-old Archibald Byfield, describes Bell as respectful and a hope for the youth in the community.

“It’s a great pleasure working with him, because he’s a young man who start his business and I get involve to work with him. Working with him, he is very mannerable, and he knows what is right.

“If we are doing the thing which is wrong about the farm, him tell us that we are not doing the right thing that he wants us to do,” he said.

Byfield added: “He is a young man who I have respect for, seeing him growing up in this community and doing such wonderful work within the community.

“It’s a great pleasure for me to work with him. Because of what he is doing, other people in the community are doing things too. Young men start to do things too. They start to get involved,” he stated. 

Carlton Bell Jr (right) and Archibald Byfield

Bell has received a number of  accolades, including The Inspiring Student Leader Award at his sixth-form graduation, St Mary 4H Clubs National Champion Youth Farmer, and a certificate of commendation from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, The Ministry of Agriculture, and Newport Fersan in recognition of his entrepreneurial spirit to invest in a farming enterprise. 

Going forward, Bell plans to invest more in his agribusiness, putting in infrastructure for the workers and stock. He is also looking to become the chief executive officer of a holding company. 

Bell is a strong advocate for mentorship and volunteerism.

“I believe in surrounding myself with positive role models who inspire and challenge me to grow. My experiences in voluntary service have further reinforced my commitment to the community and the importance of giving back.

“These elements combined have been crucial in shaping my journey, providing a strong foundation for my achievements and continuing success,” he noted. 

He also encouraged young people pursue their dreams.

“I just want to let every Jamaican youth know that nothing is impossible and don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from achieving your goal, because greatness run inna we blood and every youth is a star,” he said.