McGills named Outstanding Young Farm Family
MADISON COUNTY – Stewart and Kasey McGill and their daughters Allie, Reece and Peyton have been named Alabama Outstanding Young Farm Family for 2016.
The McGills recently accepted their honor at Alabama Farmers Federation’s 95th annual meeting in Montgomery. They won more than $80,000 in prizes and represented Alabama at American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. in January.
The McGills grow cotton, corn and soybeans in the Hazel Green and Moores Mill area of Madison County. “We are in a rotation of all three of these crops that equal to around 600 acres,” Stewart said.
“I have pretty much been a one-man operation,” Stewart said. “I have a couple of high school kids that work for me from time to time during harvest and planting.”
Stewart could never get far away from farming. “Growing up in the rural part of the county, a young man creates lots of working opportunities if you’re willing to work, which always seemed to come natural to me. From the hay field, to pastures, to drilling soybeans, working on equipment, to picking up wheat straw … it all just bit me at a young age.”
Young people should consider the agriculture industry when looking for a career, he said. “There are thousands of jobs that require an educated employee; we have a huge shortage in our industry,” Stewart said. “I really enjoy pressure in the moment, and farming at times is like that every day.”
“From breakdowns of machinery, to electrical problems around grain bins, irrigation issues, to marketing grain or setting up one-inch guidance for our tractors and planters, we have to master lots of different trades,” Stewart said.
Kasey’s family owns the pumpkin patch at Tate Farms. “I’ve worked for them full time since 2010 as chief operating officer of the pumpkin patch. I’m ‘Pumpkin King,’ so to speak,” Stewart said.
Stewart and Kasey have three daughters: Allie, 5; Reece, 3; and Peyton, 8 months. Allie attends Whitesburg Christian Academy.
“Farming is the oldest profession of mankind, but now less than one percent of the world’s population are farmers,” Stewart said. “Farmers’ major challenge is developing a land base because of housing expansion. We can’t make more land and surely can’t grow a crop in the backyard of those half-million dollar homes.” While economic growth “is awesome, it’s a tough pill to swallow at times.”
He finds reward in seeing his daughters have an understanding of life because of their career.
Coming home from school, they get to ride with him on the combine until falling asleep. “When it rains in June, the act like it’s Christmas morning because they know how important water is for life of our crops,” Stewart said.