This Friday meet Phil Campbell, U.S. Air Force veteran and farmer in Luther, Oklahoma. Prior to retiring from his 30-year military career, Phil purchased 40 acres of land in 2014 and became a full-time farmer in 2016. Starting with just cattle, he has grown the operation over the years to add poultry, fruit trees, and a garden.
“We will try just about anything around here,” Phil said. “I am always willing to try something new, and when it works, we just keep it going.”
Though his introduction into agriculture was later in life, Phil is considered a beginning farmer by USDA, which is anyone who has operated a farm or ranch for less than 10 years. USDA offers additional assistance to beginning farmers and veterans through a variety of programs and services.
Phil credits a lot of his success to Josh McNeff, former technician for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Josh initially visited the farm to meet with Phil and help determine how to best protect and utilize his land.
Phil worked with NRCS to install a well and a pond on his property through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which helps farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners integrate conservation into working lands. With the well, Phil can better provide water to his cattle, fruit trees, and crops through drought conditions, while the pond benefits his cattle, local wildlife, and pollinators. By addressing his resource concerns, he was able to mitigate the potential problems in long periods of drought and improve wildlife habitat on his property…