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Producing Excellence

Rick Gillenwater and Kevin Young

Mound City, MO

Young Farms

Products Raised or Grown: Corn and soybeans

In Business Since: 1952

Farm Credit Partner: FCS Financial

Working with Farm Credit Since: 1952

Two consecutive years of flooding in the northwest corner of Missouri brought with it two years of crop loss. Yet partners Rick Gillenwater and Kevin Young remain steadfast in their determination to climb back on the tractor and give it a go yet again.

“We’re farmers,” Rick says. “We have to be optimistic or we wouldn’t go out there and put that seed in the ground. I think things are going to turn out great this year.”

Rick and brother-in-law Kevin together operate Young Farms, Inc., a corn and soybean operation founded in 1952 by Kevin’s parents. Rick realizes that despite how tough the floods have been on their operation, “if you just look around, you can find someone else in way worse shape than you.” He credits having a good yield base, good crop insurance, provided by FCS Financial, and an excellent foundation as being key to the operation’s survival.

One aspect of that foundation is technology, including precision farming which improves seed placement, spacing and depth. “The goal is not only to have the plant population that you desire, but you also want every one of those stalks to have a uniform ear,” Rick says. “If those stalks are too close together or too far apart then that doesn’t happen.”

Though their purchase of a precision stand was to help make their own operation better, it led the partners to establish a service business for other farmers. Through Unit Pros, Rick and Kevin modify the existing seed meter on a planter and retrofit it with one that is precision modified. With the precision-modified planters, some farmers have saved as much as 10 percent on seed costs.

“In our view,” Rick says, “the most important piece of equipment a farmer has is his planter. You get one shot at putting the seed in the ground correctly.” Their nine-year-old business has experienced tremendous growth, and the two estimate installing between 400 and 600 meters per year.

Young Farms also uses an iPad as a precision farming tool. Rick says, “The iPad gives you a high resolution planting map in real time as you are doing the job. So, if Kevin is planting and the ride on his planter gets uneven, he will know it. If the singulation or spacing starts to become erratic, he’ll know it—in real time—not three rounds later.” Young Farms seized another piece of technology a couple of years ago to speed soil drying time, using a Water Hog pump that helps rid the land of surface water.

“Technology is the future of farming,” Rick says. “You don’t have to farm with the latest technology, but you have to compete with the guys who do.”

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