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Producing Excellence

Krystal Teel

Jonesboro, AR

Products: Soybeans and rice

Size of Operation: 1,100 acres

In Business Since: 2012

Farm Credit Partner: Farm Credit Midsouth

Working with Farm Credit Since: 2012

Starting a career in farming isn’t necessarily easy. For some young farmers, it’s unnecessarily difficult.

“It’s rough being a girl,” says Krystal Teel, a farmer in Arkansas. “Many men don’t think you know what you’re talking about.”

Krystal knows plenty. She got her start mowing grass at Valley View Agri during the summers of junior high, working her way into performing odd jobs while attending high school and, later, Arkansas State, where she studied agribusiness. In college, she served in the National Guard.

After working for 10 years as a farmhand on JE Saig Farms, outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Krystal started her own farming operation. Growing 200 acres of soybeans that first year, she has expanded operations to 1,100 acres of rice and soybeans.

The Start-Up/Young, Beginning & Small (YBS) Farmer Loan Program at Farm Credit Midsouth gave Krystal the chance to prove her worth as a budding agriculturist. “We knew she could do it,” says Christy Case, Krystal’s loan officer. “She came in starting from scratch, but she had a plan and reasonable goals. Helping young farmers and ranchers get their operations off the ground is what the Start-Up Program is all about.”

Krystal also had mentors in the farming community. “I learned a lot about farming from Fred and Larry at Valley View Agri and, of course, from Jim [Saig],” Krystal says.

Perhaps the biggest inspiration was Saig’s late grandmother, Ruby Crain Denton Folk, who served as president of Crain Co., the family farming operation. “I always wanted to be ‘grandmother,’” Krystal says. “She was such a strong farm woman. You don’t see many women out in the field every day running a farm.”

Despite everything, overcoming stereotypes about women in agriculture continues to be a challenge. When Krystal tells people she’s a farmer, many don’t believe her.

“If it wasn’t for this program at Farm Credit,” she says, “I wouldn’t be doing what I am today.”

Download a PDF version of this story here.