Meet West Tennessee Farmer Todd Littleton
The Dirt on the Farm
Farm Family: Todd and his father, Ricky
Crops: Corn, wheat and soybeans
Farm Location: Kenton in West Tennessee
Farm Bureau Membership: 17 years
Why do you love your job?
I am astonished by God’s creation, how I can put a seed in the ground and it germinates, grows and produces food with my care. We are dependent on our Creator, and I love to watch that process. It’s more than just a job to me – it’s a way of life. Even though it is very difficult at times, especially in hard years like this one, I wouldn’t do anything else.
What advice do you have for young farmers?
I would encourage them to get a really good education in economics and marketing. Being a farmer today is like being CEO of a company – you must have business skills to survive and deal with labor, managing time and money. I think these are very challenging times for the agriculture industry as a whole. There are a lot of things going against us, like rising interest rates, commodity prices have been cut 50 percent in the last five years, input costs are high and we are in an environment that has cut our profit margin to nearly 0. All this adds up to making it extremely difficult to survive and continue farming without an exceptional yield each year. The business side of farming is so much more leveraged than it used to be. We are borrowing tenfold the amount of money to put in a crop than my grandfather did. However, technology has come so far, which allows us to be more environmentally friendly, more productive and use less inputs than ever before. You just have to have a good business background to survive – and a lot of patience!
Farmers are resilient and necessary to feed the world. We have had hard times before and we will come through these, too, but I hope people will understand that and think about us.
Are you Farm Bureau proud?
I am very proud to be affiliated with Farm Bureau and serve as Gibson County Farm Bureau president. Farm Bureau is there to be our voice when we are in the field trying to run our business. They listen to us, hear our concerns and issues, then represent us, all farmers, nationally. I am proud of the respect Farm Bureau has in D.C. and Nashville; everyone respects them and what they stand for. So many things today are all about politics and money and Farm Bureau has always stood on their own to represent farmers’ interests.
What are your favorite memories from childhood and watching your daughter grow up on the farm?
My favorite memory is riding in the tractor with my granddaddy. Spending time with him was priceless, and at that point, it was all fun and games for me. My daughter, Malone, is only 5, but she comes and rides with me, especially during the long hours of planting and harvesting. The time I get to spend with her during those exhausting hours is irreplaceable.