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dfp-ronsmith-maddy.jpg Ron Smith
Maddy Reed, 17, works with her father, Eric, to harvest cotton and corn. "I enjoy farm work more than I expected," she says.

NCGA 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.

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.

"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."

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