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July 23, 2010   Email to Friend 

OYFF/Soybeans: Every Acre Counts For Wilson Family
By Melissa Martin

The Wilsons are, from left, Jeremy, Katie (6) and Stephanie.
Sponsored each year by the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Outstanding Young Farm Family Awards Program recognizes young farmers between the ages of 17 and 35 who do an outstanding job in farm, home and community activities. Division winners representing 10 commodities were selected in February. Of those, six finalists will compete for the title of overall Outstanding Young Farm Family for 2010. The winner, who will be named at the Federation's 89th Annual Meeting in December, will receive a John Deere Gator, courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit, a personal computer package courtesy of ValCom/CCS Wireless, $500 cash from Dodge, use of a new vehicle and other prizes. The winner also will go on to compete at the national level for a new Dodge Ram 3500. This month, Neighbors profiles four commodity division winners. Look for features on the six finalists in the coming months.

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If there's any one lesson that Talladega County soybean farmer Jeremy Wilson has learned in his five years as a farm operator, it's this -- rain or shine, get the most out of every acre.

To look at the Wilsons' farm today, most would never guess that the first years of their farming venture were so harsh. After suffering through sparse yields and parched soil during the first two years of operation, the Wilsons' corn and soybean yields have increased the last two years.

Their strong-willed nature has proven fruitful as Jeremy, wife Stephanie and daughter Kinsley (6) captured the Soybean Division of the 2010 Outstanding Young Farm Family competition.

Why soybeans? "Soybeans are a relatively cheap crop to grow, which minimizes risk, but are also one of the most profitable," explains Jeremy. They also "have multiple uses, which ensures a competitive price, and can be used for anything from fuel and glue to plastic and foam for car seats."

Since a farmer's work is never done, planning for the future is essential. "I just rented another 2,700 acres, which brings on many changes and obstacles," said Jeremy. "We will probably add another 60,000 bushels of storage or more to keep the combine running rather than have the trucks sitting in line at the elevator."

FARM FACTS


• To keep up with advancements in agricultural technology, the Wilsons have purchased two oil extruders and a fuel maker to make their own biodiesel from soybeans.

• The Wilsons' farm includes 2,800 acres of corn and 3,700 acres of soybeans.

• In the last three years, 90 percent of land has been soil-tested. The Wilsons plan to become more efficient with their fertilizer use, banding it underneath the rows.


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