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Kayla and Woody Nichols
WORK IN UNISON: Woody and Kayla Nichols work together carving a niche for themselves in agriculture.

Young couple proves there's still opportunity in ag

Innovative ideas, willingness to take risks and hard work fuel this couple’s agricultural pursuits.

There is a thriving young feed and supply business in Clinton County nestled in a wooded setting. You have to know it’s there, but obviously many people have found it. There’s also a cow-calf venture there, and that’s likely only the beginning. The young couple that works these enterprises is energetic, full of ideas and, best of all, a great team.

If you wonder if a young couple can still make it in agriculture today, Woody and Kayla Nichols would say, "Absolutely!" They’re certainly off to a good start.

How did they get to this point, and where do they want to go? Here’s an exclusive interview with Indiana Prairie Farmer that explains their background, goals and dreams. Each plays a role in making their enterprises work.

IPF: How did you get started?

Woody: My dad, Steve, and my mom, Chere, raised my siblings and me in a rural setting. We had hogs, and later I bought cattle for 4-H. Dad was an Extension educator and well-known hog judge. I graduated from Purdue University in ’09 and bought this 47 acres the same year. I was single, and I knew I wanted to be on my own. This land was once an old Christmas tree farm. We have neighbors around because we’re not that far from Frankfort. But I decided to build a building back off the road where it was fairly secluded.

Kayla: My parents, Brad and Gail Peas, have jobs related to agriculture, but I really didn’t grow up on a farm. But I helped my dad and brother raise 4-H pigs. I was active in the Clinton Central FFA, and was district president my senior year. I graduated from Purdue in ag economics in ’13. That was the same year Woody and I were married.

IPF: Someone told me you started Prairie View Ag Supply LLC the same year you married. Is that right?

Woody: It wasn’t just the same year — it was the same week, almost. Actually, we came back from our honeymoon and started the business the same week. I’m a district sales rep for AgriGold, but we knew we also wanted to do something on our own.

Kayla: We both had experience with livestock growing up, so we wanted to do something where we could use our knowledge and experience to help others. The best fit seemed like starting a feed business where we could serve our neighbors.

IPF: How did you find a line of feed to sell?

Woody: A friend sold Umbarger Feed, and we began working with him. He went a different direction, but continued selling Umbarger Feed. We still sell it today.

IPF: There are a lot of other names of feed and supply companies here now. How did that happen?

Kayla: Opportunities came along, and we began to expand. We became a distributor for Sullivan Supply in ’14.

Woody: We began offering ShowTec feeds in ’15. Today we sell six brands of feed. We also became dealers for Cisco, which added a full line of ingredients and cover crop seed to our offering.

Kayla: We maintain a website and sell products online, too. Find us at prairieviewagsupply.com.

IPF: What have you done to grow your customer base?

Kayla: It’s grown primarily by word of mouth. We don’t do any real advertising. We have over 400 customers today. We had an open house in March, and moved a lot of inventory in just one day. We wanted our customers to see everything we offer.

Woody: Our goal is for people in the livestock industry, especially in the livestock show business, to think of us as a one-stop location where they can get everything they need. We’re always looking for opportunities.

Kayla: I realized during the past Christmas season that we were missing an opportunity. Many of our customers are women. We really didn’t have many things they could buy as Christmas presents while they were here. So we’re adding new lines of clothing and accessories which should appeal to livestock people.

IPF: The dealership and full-time job keep you busy, but that’s not the only ventures you have, right?

Woody: My dad and I are partners in Nichols Cattle Co. Dad never thought he would have cows, but here we are! Kayla and I bought another 40 acres, so we have 87 acres. Dad and I have about 50 Simmental-Angus cows. We sell club calves each fall.

Kayla: We also have one Shorthorn cow. Shorthorns were my favorite, so Woody bought it for me.

Woody: We also work with about 20 other cows from a couple different owners, trying to develop better genetics for them. Some of that involves embryo transplants.

IPF: I don’t see a house. Do you ever sleep?

Woody: We sleep right here! Living quarters are part of the building. We have all the necessary permits.

Kayla: We hope to have a house someday — at least I do! But we have to be able to afford it first. We have two young children, Sadie, 20 months, and Saige, 6 months.

IPF: So who keeps all the balls in the air?

Kayla: That’s where I come in. I do the bookwork and make sure we can manage everything that we have going.

Woody: I’m the idea guy. Sometimes she has to slow me down!

IPF: So what does the future hold?

Woody: We take an attitude of letting things come to us. If an opportunity comes along, we consider it and see if it makes sense.

Kayla: Whatever enterprise we consider has to fit into what we’re already doing. We don’t want to take on more than we can handle.

Woody: And it has to show a potential to make money! In the end, if it doesn’t look like it could make money, then it probably doesn’t meet our goal to grow in the future.

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