Tyler Schnaithman Is an American Star Farmer
For Tyler Schnaithman, a life spent farming near Garber, Oklahoma, was destined. The family heritage is strong there. “My brother and I are fifth-generation farmers on a centennial Farm,” he says. “My great-great grandpa homesteaded here just after the Cherokee Land Run of 1893.”
Like most farm kids, Schnaithman enjoyed riding in the tractor and remembers tackling basic chores on the farm. But his experience diverged from most kids’ at age 11. He became very active in the local FFA chapter and signed a loan for his own piece of machinery. “I’ve always loved math and crunching numbers,” he says. “The opportunity to earn a profit and get a head start attracted me.”
And the family farm needed his help. Schnaithman’s grandfather passed away in 2004 leaving a void in the operation. “I saw it as an opportunity to prove myself,” he says.
Credit Where Credit is Due
Today, Tyler is 22 years old and manages a diversified farm enterprise with his brother, Travis, and father, Lee. Together they grow wheat, double-crop soybeans, and corn. “We work together as a great team,” he says. “We farm our own land, help each other with planting and harvesting, and share a one-third interest in our machinery.”
The Schnaithman name has long been recognized in the Garber area, and Tyler recently brought the family into the national spotlight – again. He was named the 2016 American Star Farmer by the National FFA Organization at its annual convention in October, an award reserved for the best of the best within the organization. Each year four national finalists compete to be named the FFA member with the top production agriculture specialized agricultural experience. The award recognizes achievement in both career and leadership development. “It helped me realize how many people have helped me along the way,” Schnaithman humbly says. “It drives me to be the best farm operator I can be, but most of all, it makes me appreciate my family, the state FFA staff, and my high school ag teacher.”
Travis received the same honor in ’08, and he and their sister, Carly, were named Outstanding Seniors at Oklahoma State University.
Schnaithman graduated from Oklahoma State University this spring with a degree in agribusiness and headed back to the family farm to continue working full time.
Schnaithman is featured in Successful Farming magazine's “10 Up & Comers” article running in the June issue.