Farming Through Cancer's Curveball

September 22, 2018 04:01 AM
Craig and Joanna Carraway

In my role, I have the extreme honor of meeting some amazing people. Two such farmers are Joanna and Craig Carraway from Murray, Ky.

In 2013, we honored Joanna as the Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon Award winner. She is a diligent, goal-oriented and sharp businesswoman who is dedicated to our great industry. Craig is her perfect life and business partner. He’s a jolly and hard-working man.

The couple began their full-time farming career in 2006, raising tobacco, corn, soybeans and wheat. They started a five-year process of purchasing Craig’s grandmother’s share of Carraway Family Farms, which began in 1953. The young couple worked hard and set a profitable foundation for their family, which includes son, Preston, and daughter, Hannah.

Change Of Plans. In 2016, the Carraways received a bone-shuddering shock. Craig was diagnosed with brain cancer and given less than 14 months to live. The doctors told Craig to go home and get his affairs in order. But, Joanna doesn’t live life by someone else’s direction.

“When everybody is crying the blues, I always stay optimistic,” Joanna recently told my colleague and “AgDay” Host Clinton Griffiths.

She began searching for answers and enrolled Craig into a cutting-edge medical trial. Following two surgeries and chemotherapy, the chance of recovery remains small, but the family is keeping it in perspective.

“Before his first brain surgery we sat down, and it was not about the farm,” Joanna says. “There was no conversation about, ‘I wish we’d have farmed more acres, we’d made more money or we built more barns.’”

Two and a half years later, Craig is still here and still facing the future with his family. “It just really changes your mindset,” Craig says. “Daily I get up and just thank God that I’m waking up and I’m still here for another day.”

The Carraways now take weekends off. They go to ball games and even bought a camper for trips to the lake.

Several of his tumors have disappeared but others are still present and growing. There are no guarantees this latest round of treatments will save him.

“Nothing’s impossible,” Joanna says. “You have to be positive and think, it’s not that things are impossible, these are just things you work toward.”

First Things First. With the stress involved in farming, stories like Craig’s are so important. It reminds us all why we get up in the morning.

As you harvest your crops this fall, take time to cherish a beautiful sunset. Spend an extra few minutes with your family. Our lives are made rich by the people we meet. Take the time to count all of your blessings.


Learn more about Craig and Joanna’s journey at


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