Dec. 12, 2012
DTN/The Progressive Farmer report:
DTN/The Progressive Farmer revealed Tuesday at its Ag Summit the 2013 class of honorees in the America's Best Young Farmers and Ranchers Program.
DTN/The Progressive Farmer's 2013 America's Best Young Farmers and Ranchers Program honorees are, from left to right, Clint Reiss, Josh W. Krohn, Gary J. Coleman, Darren Grogan and Michelle Stewart.
This is the third class of honorees in the program that began in 2011. This year the program is sponsored by John Deere, in addition to DTN and The Progressive Farmer. The five farmers and ranchers were honored during a special award ceremony. They come from all walks of rural America -- from grain and cattle operations in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas.
The America's Best Young Farmer and Ranchers Program recognizes leaders in production and management innovation, and also for their involvement in their home communities.
"They bring their same talents for farming and ranching to the challenges facing the rural communities where they make their homes," Hillyer said. "We believe community involvement is important to the future of production agriculture in the United States. Farmers and ranchers need to be advocates for their rural communities as well as their profession."
In addition to a plaque marking this honor, each young farmer and rancher will receive an iPad and a full-year subscription to the DTN Grains Professional online service.
DTN/The Progressive Farmer will announce soon the next opening for nominations to be considered for membership in the 2014 class in America's Best Young Farmers and Ranchers. Watch for details early in 2013.
Here's a brief look at the 2013 honorees. A complete profile of each winner will be featured in the February 2013 issue of The Progressive Farmer.
Michelle Stewart, 39, Spirit Farms, Sheridan, Illinois
Michelle is co-owner and general manager of Spirit Farms, a diverse, full-service farming operation working 13,000 acres of corn and soybeans in 10 north-central Illinois counties. The farm manages another 2,000 acres in a custom farming business. Michelle is also president, half-owner and general manager of Stewart Spreading, an agri-business that specializes in the use of nutrient-rich bio-solids as organic fertilizers and soil amendments. The farm's focus is providing progressive solutions to the needs of landowners and investors, stewardship of the land and educating people about modern agriculture and how food is produced.
"Our farm has been blessed beyond measure. I feel it is a direct result of the importance I place on integrity and character. These things can only be transferred throughout an organization from the top down," Stewart said.
Clint Reiss, 38, Southwest Family Farms, GP, Plains, Kansas
Clint is the fifth generation of the Reiss family to participate in production agriculture. Clint serves as chief financial officer of Southwest Family Farms, manages its marketing efforts and is involved in the farm's day-to-day operation. The farm includes 8,000 acres of dryland, 4,000 acres of irrigated crops and a 20,000-acre custom farming operation.
This family farm, including his grandmother, Kathryn, parents, Stan and Cheri, and brother, Bret, has a goal of reaching 40,000 acres by 2020. Clint expects the farm to reach this goal through the use of best production practices with existing landowners and continued relationship building with individuals and organizations involved and invested in agriculture.
"I believe in growth through innovation. I have a willingness to study and then adapt new technologies, integrate those technologies into management practices, and produce information from them that is used to improve farm profitability," said Reiss.
DTN/The Progressive Farmer's 2013 America's Best Young Farmers and Ranchers Program honorees are, from left to right, Clint Reiss, Josh W. Krohn, Gary J. Coleman, Darren Grogan and Michelle Stewart. (DTN photo by Nick Scalise)-- Darren Grogan, 39, Triple G Farms, Arlington, Kentucky
Darren farms 14,000 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans with his father, Bobby and brother, Brian. Of that, 3,000 acres are irrigated with 18 circle pivots (the farm is planning to grow to 5,000 irrigated acres). Triple G Farms is a vastly diversified, self-sustaining farming partnership. In addition to row crops, Triple G Farms operates an irrigation business that annually grosses more than $1 million in sales. Darren is also the managing member of Precision Ag Aviation, the farm's newest venture, which is an aerial application company operating a state-of-the-art 2012 Thrush aircraft.
"I have a personal philosophy that there is a better way of doing things than I am currently, I just have not discovered it, yet," said Grogan.
Gary J. Coleman, 32, C. Calf Farms, Anderson, South Carolina
Gary is a first-generation farmer who specializes in Angus and Brangus beef cattle. A graduate of Clemson University, his operation, C. Calf Farms, includes a 274-head cow-calf operation, a 1,200-head capacity backgrounding facility, hay sales, feed mixing and sales and a mobile meat store, Coleman 3 Meats (beef, pork and goats). His meat products contain no hormones or antibiotics. Gary plans to increase his cow-calf herd by 75 replacement heifers annually until his farm reaches 800 brood cows.
"It has been said that 'It takes hard work to get to the top, but it takes a leader to stay there.' I have watched myself grow as a young farmer into a wise leader in the farm industry, while keeping alive my ability to learn more, lead and teach," said Coleman.
Josh W. Krohn, 34, Krohn Farms, Lamesa, Texas
Josh farms 1,000 acres of cotton, alfalfa, peanuts and milo outside Lamesa, Texas. He also works 2,000 acres of planted and native pasture. Josh has installed drip irrigation systems in portions of his cultivated fields to conserve increasingly limited supplies of water. He grazes 100 cows that are bred to produce show cattle. Krohn Farms also owns, and partners in a 130-sow operation that focuses on the production of show pigs for local and national stock shows. The use of artificial insemination has been a great asset to improving the livestock at both the Krohn cattle and pig farms. It is a technology that gives Josh the ability to bring genetics into his breeding programs that were previously unavailable.
"Growth is the ultimate goal for every farmer and I am no different. But I do not want the growth at the expense of my family and livelihood. Krohn Farms has been built conservatively. By building equity and reserves, it has allowed me to take advantage of growth opportunities," said Krohn.