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NCGA yield winner sets sights on vet schoolNCGA yield winner sets sights on vet school

Madison Reed, 17, earned first place for dryland production in the 2019 National Corn Growers Association yield contest.

Ron Smith

February 19, 2020

1 Min Read
Maddy Reed, 17, works with her father, Eric, to harvest cotton and corn. "I enjoy farm work more than I expected," she says.Ron Smith

Madison Reed, 17, earned first place for dryland production in the 2019 National Corn Growers Association yield contest with 328 bushels per acre.

Reed, who goes by Maddy, says she enjoys working on the farm but may not pursue a career in production agriculture. After high school, she hopes to attend the University of Tennessee. "I want to be a vet," she says. "I enjoy the crops, but I'm not sure I want farming to be my occupation."

She's learning the ropes, nonetheless. During corn and cotton harvest she runs the combine and the roller picker.

"She's taken an interest in the farm," says her dad, Eric, who placed first in dryland corn production for Alabama.

He raises cotton, corn and soybeans in Lincoln County, Tenn., and Madison County, Ala.

He says his son, Owen, 16, and his wife, Erin, are also active on the farm.

"It's a family affair," he says.

Maddy, a junior at Lincoln County High School, says she has enjoyed working on the farm "more than she expected."

A liberal absence policy from her high school gives her opportunities. "The school encourages students to do things away from school," she says. "We get a 'green card' excused absence when we leave school to work in agriculture."

She works hard on academics, too, and is currently taking courses two days a week at Motlow Junior College.

Related:'Process' plays key role in top corn yields

"I get home early and help on the farm," she says.

Farm work has taught her how valuable time is. "That's been a lesson," she says, "the time it takes to run a farm. It takes away from family time. But the whole family gets involved to do what has to be done."

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith

Editor, Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 30 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Denton, Texas. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and two grandsons, Aaron and Hunter.

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