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Education and transparency are important facets of Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, Tennessee.
The diversified operation owned by John Harrison and his family is home to 1,500 dairy cows, several hundred beef cattle, and produces row crops in addition to farmstead cheese. It also features a 5,000 square foot event and educational center that allows visitors from across the country to learn about the operation’s history, what they do and why they do it.
Over the years, Sweetwater Valley Farm has adopted environmentally conscious practices, which include recycling waste to use as fertilizer for row crops (eliminating the need for commercial fertilizers) and installing solar panels to put electricity back on the grid.
“I want to be carbon sensitive, and I think that most farmers do,” John explains. “Farmers want to leave the farm as well or better than they found it.”
For John and his team, moving toward a more carbon-neutral operation also means adopting new practices that help make his herd more productive and efficient because “a highly effective operation has less of a carbon impact.”
That means continually seeking ways to gather better data from his dairy cows. In recent years, Sweetwater Valley Farm became Tennessee’s first user of the Lely XL robotic milking system.
“The robotic technology is a free-flow system, so we train cows to use the technology,” John says. “What it really does is give the cow more freedom to do what she wants to do. So, we’ll milk when she wants to milk, feed when she wants to feed, and rest when she wants to rest.”
An Ohio farm family finds success in embracing legacy and new technology
How Farm Credit Mid-America helped one customer achieve her business goals
Customer finds support in Farm Credit Mid-America’s Growing Forward® Program
A customer’s hunt to find the perfect property leads to the construction of his dream home
An Ohio farm family finds success in embracing legacy and new technology Read story
How Farm Credit Mid-America helped one customer achieve her business goals Read story
Customer finds support in Farm Credit Mid-America’s Growing Forward® Program Read story
A customer’s hunt to find the perfect property leads to the construction of his dream home Read story
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Unique program supports future farmers while helping those in need Read story
Youth Beef Heifer Initiative empowers youth to learn first-hand what is involved in cattle production Read story
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For students across the nation, FFA isn’t just an extra-curricular activity. It’s the foundation of a future in agriculture. Read story
Many of our 1,100 employees cite FFA as a formative life experience and have stayed involved with the organization. Here are a few of their stories. Read story
Producer and former FFA member Kenton Abrams shares his experience as a young farmer and his passion for agriculture. Read story
Several organizations across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee work to get fresh fruit, vegetables and animal protein onto the plates of those in need. Read story
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By: Molly Rubio Read story
Get an insider's look behind the scenes at a county fair 4-H show. Read story
Real-world thinking coupled with real-world experience is crucial to agriculture education today. Read story
Family Scholar House helps parents forge paths to self-sufficiency for themselves and their children. Read story
The Homegrown by Heroes label helps veterans and active-duty service members set their farm products apart. Read story
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Grain bin rescue tubes help rural fire departments keep communities safe
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Farmers and food banks bring fresh food to local communities.. Read story
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One 4-H camp in Ohio needed funding to "Raise the Roof". Read story
Last fall, Purdue broke ground on two buildings that make up the new Purdue Animal Sciences complex. Read story
Last fall, Farm Credit staff volunteers planted vegetables in Unicoi High School's greenhouse. The crops will stock the school cafeteria. Read story
Meet two of tomorrow’s ag leaders, from two very different backgrounds. Read story