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Invest in your roots

Agriculture.com Staff 12/11/2009 @ 12:40pm

A quick look at the outdoor thermostat may have you convinced that the reason the air conditioned office on the Lumpkins farm is brimming with family members is because everyone's trying to avoid the 100-degree heat. But as Ronnie Lumpkins sits at his desk, surrounded by his three children, Lori, Lana, and Brad, the real reason becomes apparent.

Respect. Respect for a father who has spent 45 years building his Leonard, Texas, farming operation into a successful business. A business that has welcomed each child back with open arms.

From a young age, Brad, 29, knew his future included being a part of the farm. When he graduated from high school in 1998, it was no surprise he wanted to farm with his father. More than a decade later, his role has evolved into a manager who is responsible for their two full-time and three part-time employees.

"Most of the time I'm back with the guys working or getting them lined up for what they need to do for the day," says Brad.

"Brad is a working manager," says Ronnie. "You manage your people, but if you're not out there working with them, you don't know them and can't troubleshoot and head off problems."

Brad is also the one who has embraced precision agriculture and readies the GPS-enabled equipment for fieldwork.

But being a part of the family's agricultural operation wasn't the original plan for all of the children.

For Lori and Lana, returning to the farm after high school or even college wasn't a consideration. Both headed to city jobs. But after several years of long commutes and a good dose of city life, both women decided it was time to return home.

"As they got out into corporate America, they realized how important this was back here. It sure made them a lot more interested and reliable," Ronnie smiles.

"Farming is in our blood. We didn't know it was there. But the older we got, the more we realized what was important," says Lana.

A quick look at the outdoor thermostat may have you convinced that the reason the air conditioned office on the Lumpkins farm is brimming with family members is because everyone's trying to avoid the 100-degree heat. But as Ronnie Lumpkins sits at his desk, surrounded by his three children, Lori, Lana, and Brad, the real reason becomes apparent.

But returning to the farm isn't as simple as packing up your suitcase and heading to the country. Even though the family works 6,500 acres, which includes growing corn, soybeans, wheat, and running 250 head of black Angus cattle, adding another person to the payroll means another piece of the pie has to be shared.

Her son, Jake, however, is a different matter. Whether it's working ground, tending to cattle, or repairing equipment, he loves every aspect of farm life.

All three children know their dad will always be a part of the farm. But they also want him to slowly move away from the physical aspect of farming and use his years of expertise to help his children grow the business.

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