In honor of its first-ever special edition dedicated to young farmers, Top Producer spoke with producers from across the U.S. about their business roles, the projects on which they're focused and the opportunities they see ahead. Mike Milligan, 24, of Cass City, Mich., is focused on technology and stewardship, working with organizations such as Field to Market to measure the sustainability of his farming practices. Top Producer's The Young Farmer Issue mails May 31 to readers.
Your title & key responsibilities in your farm business: Farm manager including day-to-day management decisions, cropping decisions such as crop rotation, cover crops and tillage. I work with team members to plant, spray and harvest.
Describe one skill you are working to improve upon within your own farm business. Why did you choose to develop this particular skill, and how will you use it?: One skill I am honing is use of precision ag software to improve fertilizer efficiencies, crop yields and sustainability. Today’s software allows producers to maximize every acre in their fields. I have used the software to create management zones with every field we farm. I use it to adjust rates of fertilizer and seed to each zone. I hope to incorporate different chemical rates into the zones in the future.
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Tell us about one project on your farm in the next 12-18 months that has you excited about the future of your operation and your career path: In the next 12 months, I am looking to incorporate a beef cattle herd into the operation. I am planning for the majority of the feed to come from cover crops, with hopes of building soil health while making gains on the beef herd. I enjoy the ag industry because there is no set way to do things, and there is always an aspect of the operation that can be improved upon.
Quotable: Farming with a focus on high yields and sustainability provides me with an interesting challenge and makes me excited for the future of agriculture.
Take advantage of our Early Bird discount, which runs through June 9, and attend the 2017 Tomorrow's Top Producer business conference for young farmers July 20-21 in Nashville.