Brenda and Leighton Cooley raise chickens, cattle and hay in Roberta, Georgia, with Leighton’s parents, Larry and Terri Cooley.
Leighton is a fourth-generation farmer who returned to the family operation with a strong passion for agriculture when he was 21 years old.
While others chose to leave and travel far away to start their families and careers, Leighton chose to return to where he grew up and pursue a career working alongside his family. In his mind, it’s one of the best decisions he’s ever made
“My dad and I work together all day, every day. And that's one of the greatest blessings that a father and son could have,” he said.
Agriculture runs in the Cooley family and Leighton is proud to carry on that tradition. His father, Larry, summed things up well when he said, “To us, there's no better occupation that you can have than to be called an American farmer. It's a way of life that we love.”
Young and beginning farmer
Leighton had known he wanted to be in agriculture from a young age. When he returned to the farm, he did so with a dream of building chicken houses. However, as a young and beginning farmer, Leighton needed financial support to achieve his goals.
That’s when he turned to AgGeorgia. Where many financial institutions would have turned Leighton away, just 21 years old and asking for a very large loan. AgGeorgia did just the opposite.
Leighton felt AgGeorgia was saying to him, “We believe in you; we believe in agriculture; we believe in the future of agriculture for the next generation.” Reflecting on his experience, he added, “And they believed in me, in a in a 21 year old who wanted to go back and join the family farm.”
In addition to helping him start, AgGeogria has supported Leighton and Brenda as they’ve increased their participation in the business.
“AgGeorgia has played a great role in our operation being where it is now. They helped me and Brenda get started, as well as expand and grow the farm,” Leighton said.