NPR - PETERSON FARMS: A LASTING BUSINESS IS A HEALTHY BUSINESS
Peterson Farms has grown from a small dairy farm to a complex grain farm producing grain in the heart of Kentucky bourbon whiskey country. A brief account of the long farming history of the Peterson family is presented. A transition from tobacco farming under intense tillage and cultivation, to grain production using almost exclusively no-till is described. Intensive management of crops has brought on seriously more complex, new challenges. Tobacco is no longer a cash crop, but the current crops of single-season non-GMO soybeans, GMO and non-GMO corn, winter wheat, double-crop non-GMO soybeans, and winter canola present many issues of timeliness and precision. The mega amounts of data generated from 600 fields of these crops requires a whole new level of expertise on the staff at Peterson Farms.
The growth from 5,000 acres to 18,000 acres has occurred while maintaining excellent yields; the upward sloping yield trend lines at Peterson Farms during the years of rapid growth show gains equal to or greater than the state of Kentucky as a whole. This does not mean the process of growth has been painless. Consultants were hired to advise on the proper business structure for large family farm, and to advise on a plan for succession to future generations of our family and to allow for future ownership and management by members outside the Peterson family.