As a member of the Palmyra FFA Chapter in Nebraska, Garret Talcott has loved riding tractors and raising livestock his entire life, starting his career in farm work when he was only around 6 years old.
“I’ve always grown up on the farm here,” Talcott said. “When I was a little kid, I just drove our old open cab 3010 John Deere tractor – a little 8-foot disk that used to be my great grandpa’s. … I’d be out in the cornfields going back and forth with it.”
Talcott carried his love for farming into young adulthood, and he has seen plenty of growth in the land he farms for his supervised agricultural experience (SAE), including his usual crops and an expansion into livestock and excavating in recent years.
“We’ve expanded from about 30 or 40 acres up to 500 over the last few years,” he said. “We farm all corn and soybeans on dry land. We don’t have any irrigated out here in Nebraska.”
Talcott is only 21 years old, but he said one of his largest land expansions came about thanks to a connection with a farmer from an older generation.
“I had a farmer who was thinking about retiring,” Talcott said. “[He] had 250 acres just a few miles away from us, and he talked to the seed dealer where I get all my seeds. Wanted a younger guy to come in and take it over then and help him out, so I ended up with that, jumping up another 250 acres then from him retiring.”
Talcott’s advice to FFA members starting an SAE is never to give up.
“Just keep on trying,” he said. “Farming and stuff like that is not getting any bigger for people, it’s just getting smaller, so you just can never give up for that. Just got to keep on trying and keep on going.”
As for Talcott, he has graduated with a welding degree from Southeast Community College, and he said his farming operation will keep him plenty busy for a long time.
“Got the full works out here, then,” he said. “Never have a day to slack off. You always have something or another to do.”