With the 2023 growing season coming to a close, the XtremeAg farmers are changing gears for the next season of work on their farms. With harvest wrapped up, it is important to reflect on the successes and failures of this year, as well as share gratitude for their teams and this way of life.
Matt Miles – McGehee, Arkansas
Matt Miles is a fourth generation farmer in the delta region of southeast Arkansas. Together with his wife SK, his son Layne and his wife Ryane, he farms 10,000 acres of cotton, corn, soybeans, rice, and wheat. Miles is mostly known for his achievements in soybeans, setting the Arkansas state yield record multiple times. Although soybeans are his passion, he also has several state NCGA corn wins. Miles says while winning contests are rewarding, his goal is to be consistent. It has made him think outside the box to maximize yields and have a positive ROI. He is continually working towards developing a sustainable farm for preservation towards the next generations to come. He gives all the credit of his successes to God and the team he works with.
As I was sitting in a bow stand in Kansas chasing whitetails, I had hours to reflect on the successes and failures of my farm. We have always been very successful in putting together a top notch farm team. As some have come and gone, our average years per employee, including H2A guys will average around 12 years.
A smart man once told me that most people would think money would be the top priority, but it is actually time off, followed by respect. Money was third. When my dad passed away in my 30s, I took that approach with the guys we had. Some of it was the fear inside me, of them not wanting to work for a kid, and some was not wanting to do everything just like he did. Although he was extremely successful, there were some things as I do now, that could be done differently. I work harder each year to improve our operation.
Today, I lead with time off for my employees, followed by giving them the respect they deserve, and compensate them fairly. It is at this time of the year, that I like to give thanks to all who have been there to help us build the Miles Farm we share today. This has given me the ability to say we are #farmily.
Chad Henderson – Madison, Alabama
Chad Henderson is part of a five-generation farm in Madison, Alabama. Henderson Farms operates on over 7,000 acres of dryland and irrigated corn, dryland soybeans, wheat, and dryland and irrigated double-crop soybeans. The Henderson team began competing in NCGA contests in 2001 and as of today, Chad is currently the Conventional Irrigated Alabama record holder with a yield of 355 BPA. His ultimate goal for Henderson Farms is to continue educating the farming and non-farming community on the efficiency of the farmer, how well they treat the land and the importance they serve in our everyday lives.
This week on the corn and soybean side of things, we have been cleaning up equipment and doing a full service on all of the machines. Part of cleaning them up includes washing them off really well, then pulling them out from the sheds, and letting them idle for about 15 minutes. After they sit for a while and get dry, we grease them, and let them idle again or another 15 or 20 minutes. Greasing them and letting them idle helps get the grease pushed through the bearings.
We just finished drilling wheat and it is very dry. We have not received any rain. We are hoping to receive a good rainfall because it is so dry that our area currently has a burn ban. There have been several fires around the area due to something as simple as someone throwing a lit cigarette out into the ditches, they catch fire, then it spreads to the fields.
This week we are going to begin to spraying wheat. After we get a good rain and the wheat germinates, we will apply a herbicide spray before the wheat emerges to help with weed control.
Johnny Verell – Jackson, Tennessee
Johnny Verell is a third generation farmer, taking a scientific approach to his high yield operation located in Jackson, Tennessee. Soil conservation is important on his farm, where he utilizes cover crops and a no-till approach on 4500 acres of corn, 4000 acres of soybeans and 3100 acres of wheat. Farming alongside his dad, Verell continues to look for innovative ideas and business approaches. He has defined the practice of efficiency, double cropping both corn and beans into wheat, which has allowed him to strive for higher yields since transitioning from cotton to grain. He continues to be recognized for various farm awards including NCGA State Winner, American Soybean Association’s Conservation Legacy Award recipient, 2018 Tennessee Farmer of the Year, and others.
A lot is going on this week on the farm. We are doing a lot of field work on several of the fields and a lot of improvements to get them ready to go for next season. We are currently spreading lime and fertilizer while the weather is nice. It is still fairly dry, but it has not transitioned into cold temperatures yet. We are still moving some grain to the markets and trying to complete that by the beginning of 2024.
This week we are mainly focusing on what to do and improve on for next year. We are trying to figure out what inputs we are needing to buy right now. This is the first time in several years that interest is almost an input for the farm, so we have to really focus on figuring out the cost per acre across the farm. We want to figure out where to spend the money to get the best ROI. We are also looking into what varieties of corn and soybeans we are going to order as well as what crops fit what locations across the farm to get the best ROI.
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Editor’s note: Youth hunting regulations vary from state to state, but caregivers should note each child’s individual abilities in addition to their age when deciding the right time to begin supervised hunts together.