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The New Crop: Growing with Dignity

February 13, 2013
By: Tyne Morgan, Ag Day TV National Reporter
p30 Young Achiever   3

For this young farmer, being humble is just as important as doing things right.


Driving by this Wisconsin farm, there’s more to the red paint and scenic landscape than meets the eye.

"Perception is reality," says Michael Daniels, who farms in southeastern Wisconsin and a portion of Illinois. "If you drive past a dumpy farm, how they can expect what they’re going to put on their table is a quality product?"

At the age of 35, Daniels has already been farming for more than two decades. At the age of 15, he rented his first piece of ground, farming with his father and brother. By the age of 26, he had become the sole operator of the farm. While he’s grown, it’s been with dignity, taking a great deal of pride in not only what he does, but how he does it.

"You don’t cut corners," he says. "You do things right."

This has helped propel him into a successful farming career, growing the farm to more than just row crops.

"We have some alfalfa, also," Daniels says. "And then our custom service side, which has grown rapidly in the last couple of years. That’s spraying, every aspect of production agriculture including planting and combining, and then we got into forage harvesting."

With so many different entities, he doesn’t consider himself a boss. He says it requires a team to get the work done.

"More like a coach or a leader," he says. "I’m not big on being a boss and dictating."

By looking at Daniels’ picturesque operation and his office, where papers are neatly filed and everything sitting nicely in its home, you can tell he’s a perfectionist. What you can’t see is how humble he is, and that’s been key to the success of his operation.

"Being humble goes a long way," Daniels says. "There are people in our community losing their homes. They don’t need to see a new combine going by."

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