Texas producer overcomes challenging growing season to harvest our “daily bread”
As wheat harvest gets underway, one producer in the Lone Star State is making sure his fellow Texans are getting their daily bread.
Kenneth McAlister’s combine rolls through fields of wheat in Electra, Texas, harvesting the amber waves of grain after a challenging growing season. But even with the challenges, McAlister is hopeful about this year’s crop.
The Texas Farm Bureau introduces us to McAlister, who shows us how he ensures everyone in his community gets their daily bread. He says farming is just his way of life.
McAlister is a third-generation farmer and rancher. He farms in Wilbarger, Wichita and Archer counties where he primarily grows wheat, cotton, sorghum, corn and raises cattle. The farm began with his grandfather in the late ’50s. McAlister’s father moved his family back to Electra to farm in the 1960s and he followed in his footsteps to farm full-time after high school. Today, McAlister farms with his sons and grandchildren.
“My favorite thing about being a farmer is watching my family come together in our operation,” McAlister said. “I enjoy watching our crops grow and turn into a successful year with my family by my side.”
McAlister grows hard red winter wheat and begins planting in October and November. He practices no-till farming, leaving the straw standing after harvest.
“It’s a pretty good crop to watch grow. It can be aggravating to spend a lot of money on a crop and later see it get wiped out from weather, but we’ve been lucky this year,” McAlister said. “This year is like winning the lottery. Last year wasn’t a good crop year for us because of the drought, but this year, we’ve had some moisture to produce a pretty good wheat crop.”
Last fall when he planted the crop, North Texas was still dry after months of devastating drought. This spring and early summer, however, was a stark contrast to last year’s dry conditions. Rains fell so often that harvest was delayed.
Despite the challenges, McAlister shared he enjoys farming with his family every day.
“This is a way of life and I enjoy it. I enjoy that every day there is a new challenge, but it’s nice to be with your kids and your family,” he said.
Reporting by Texas Farm Bureau