Creating a farm business from scratch, the Leep family never wanted to “go into business.” Instead, they planned to “grow into business.” Their approach was a success and now they run an operation, Leep Hay & Grain, that covers some 5,000 acres and supports three generations of their family.
See the video and read about the secrets to their success, one of which is relying on versatile, dependable and efficient Massey Ferguson and Hesston equipment.
On Operational Basics:
We aim to maintain a strong liquidity. We only borrow money for land. That’s enabled us to have patience in marketing, to pay cash for equipment … which gave us some discounts.
When setting up irrigation systems, you can’t be afraid of obstacles, such as hills or ditches, or things like that. We learned from a man we worked for early on … who would rearrange the land or bridge canals.
We rotate alfalfa. That rotation gets nitrogen back into the soil, breaks up the disease cycles and things like that. We’ve typically left alfalfa in four to six years, and then go a couple years of wheat and a couple of years of barley.
On Equipment: The Leeps run a fleet of Massey Ferguson and Hesston equipment that includes seven tractors (2, MF8660; 3, MF7618 and 2, MF7622); two WR9770 windrowers; and three large square balers (2, MF2170 and 1, MF2150). We weren’t hesitant at all to stick with Massey equipment. We still go and run some of the competing brands. I just ran one the other day, but I was like really happy with ours after that. I was unloading hay at a customer’s place and I thought the Massey was balanced better. It was smoother. The hydraulics were better. The visibility was better in the Massey. … I fell in love with them all over again.
On The Future:
Obviously being in agriculture we have a real affinity for the land and care about what happens to it and want to preserve it. There’s a lot of development pressure here, but our county passed an open space bond, which enabled people to enter into permanent conservation easements and get some payment toward the diminished [potential value] that was forfeited. So, that was an incentive for us, as well as the federal tax benefit, so we did do that on two of our properties. Preserving the land and having kids interested in agriculture was certainly a factor too.
For more of the Leeps’ tips, as well as videos featuring their scenic outdoor “office,” see “Growing Into Business” on myFarmLife.com.
Share your tips for successful farming with us. We’ll publish a few of the best in a future post.