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State of Mississippi Young Farmer Winners


Hinds County row crop, cattle and timber farmers Scott and Lesley Cannada were recently named state winners of the 2012 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers State Achievement Award. They were recognized for their farming innovations, leadership skills and involvement in Farm Bureau and their community.

The Cannadas received a new Ford pickup truck, the use of John Deere and Kubota tractors, $500 from Watson Quality Ford and $1800 toward the purchase of technology from Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. They will represent Mississippi in national competition in Nashville, Tennessee, in January.

Scott carries on a tradition begun by his great-great-great-great-grandfather in 1827, when he started Cannada Farms after acquiring farmland from his uncle. Scott is the eighth generation of his family to work the family farm.

When Scott’s grandfather retired in the fall of 1998, he gave Scott 230 head of beef cattle, two tractors and some hay equipment. Scott was still in college, but he was planning to return to the farm in May 2000.

“My father, mother and I put my cattle and equipment with their established farming operation and formed a three-way partnership. I had worked on my parents’ farm all of my life during summers and any other time I was not at school.”

Cannada Farms currently grows corn and soybeans. The operation includes timberland and a cow/calf operation. In addition, Scott helps manage family timber.

A talented innovator, Scott has built many structures designed to ease the handling of cattle on his farm. In addition, he built a pasture and hay field spray boom; a 20,500-bushel grain bin that holds about 30 to 40 percent of his normal corn production; and a 40- by 75-foot equipment shed to store equipment that is too big for his old shed. In 2010, he built a new 30- by 40-foot warehouse to store chemicals, feed and seed.

Scott is also a good steward of the land. He is very proactive with conservation efforts on his farm.
“My operation is located along a major watershed area that has been targeted to reduce erosion and sedimentation. Since I have been on the farm full-time, I have placed about 100 acres in the Continuous CRP program,” he said. “This program gives us an annual income off of marginal land, while providing wildlife habitat and helping control erosion.

“The cost-share portion of this program has allowed me to build new fences out away from the banks, which were continually caving off and destroying the existing fences,” he said. “The trees also help to protect the fences from the current during floods.”

Scott has placed nine water control structures along creek banks to slow runoff and stop erosion.
Like other young farmers across the nation, Scott must deal with urban sprawl and steadily rising land values. He says it has become difficult to obtain a long-term lease on the farmland that is still available.

“In the last seven years, we have lost over 1,100 acres of rented land that has been planted in trees for recreational use,” he said. “To combat this, we have begun purchasing additional land to reduce our dependence on rented land.”

Scott’s future goals include to produce high- quality hay more economically; to continue to increase row crop yields (his three-year average for corn is 116.5 bushels per acre and for soybeans, 45 bushels per acre); to reduce labor and equipment costs per acre; to own enough land to sustain his operation; and to install more grain bins as acreage increases. As GPS guidance gets better in his area, he hopes to use this to move to more strip tillage instead of conventional tillage to reduce fuel costs and erosion. He recently purchased a litter spreader and has started using chicken litter on his hay and crop fields for his fertility needs.

Scott serves on the Hinds County Farm Bureau Board of Directors as vice president and as chair of the Hinds County YF&R Committee. He will serve as county president in 2014. He is a county voting delegate to state convention. Lesley is vice chair of the Hinds County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and has served as an alternate voting delegate to state convention.
Scott and Lesley served on the YF&R State Committee, where he served as chair, and she served as secretary. As the YF&R State Committee chair, he served on the state board of directors and the state executive committee. He was a voting delegate to the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting and chair of the state resolutions ag subcommittee. He currently serves on the state communications committee.

He was named Mississippi Farmer of the Year for the Sunbelt Ag Expo in 2011; starred in one of the first commercials for the Farm Families of Mississippi Ag Promotion Campaign; and received the Hinds County Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award for 2011.

He is active in many county and state ag organizations, serving as a board member, officer and/or voting delegate for several. He is chairman of deacons for his church, a Sunday School teacher and serves on various committees.

He and Lesley have two children, ages 7 and 3.

For more information about the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Program, contact YF&R Coordinator Kirsten Johnson at (601) 977-4277.

 

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The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest general farm organization with more than 197,000 member-families statewide.  There are Farm Bureaus in all 82 counties in Mississippi where agriculture comprises a fundamental part of Mississippi 's economy.  Headquartered in Jackson , the federation is an independent, non-profit agricultural organization and is not associated with any arm of the government.  For more information about Farm Bureau, visit our website at www.msfb.org.

© 2007 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation