Hometown: Monroe, NC
Size of Operation: 2,500 acres
Years in Business: 65
Years Working with Farm Credit: 30
Many agricultural producers evolve their operations over time, employing new technologies or improved methods to reduce their costs and increase their yields. For Everette Medlin, it also meant a significant change in what he raised: After many years raising poultry, he decided several years ago to switch entirely to row crops, growing corn, wheat and soybeans on his 2,500-acre farm.
"I was at the point that I needed to build new broiler houses, but that would have taken more capital than I wanted to invest," he says.
Instead, he's focused on raising his crops the most efficient way he can. He's switched entirely to no-till, reducing soil erosion and water usage as well as the number of trips his equipment needs to make across the field. His equipment also uses GPS, which enables field mapping and eliminates any overlapping of spraying, which saves time, reduces input costs, and lessens the environmental impact from chemicals.
One of the most important aspects of current technologies for Everette is the access to more, and more current, information. "We get instantaneous market updates now, giving us more information than we've ever had available before," he says. "Any time you have more information, you're going to make better decisions."
Everette, who farms with his son, Drew, says that one reason for his success is their commitment to run the farm like a business, something he believes most farmers are doing these days. "We employ business techniques now that we didn't use before, because it truly is a business—it's agribusiness," he says. Those techniques are focused around cost-accounting, influencing everything from when he makes significant purchases to how long he keeps his equipment. Carolina Farm Credit is also part of this business-minded approach, providing financial options and risk management tools that help him in good years and in bad. "Three generations of our family have used only Carolina Farm Credit," Everette says. "Banks just don't understand ag the way they do."
Despite the necessary focus on business, though, he says, "It's still a family farm, and we love our way of life. But it's also our livelihood, so we have to treat it like a business."
As for where that business is heading, Everette believes that opportunities will come from increased demand for specialty crops. "As end users look for things like higher sugar or lysine or protein in the seed, we're going to see growth in demand for specialty crops," he says. "These are going to be niche markets, but the opportunities will come along."
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