Cherry Valley, Arkansas
Jason McGee farms more than 7,000 acres in Cherry Valley, Arkansas, where he grows rice, soybeans, wheat and corn, in addition to running a cow-calf operation.
Farm Credit Midsouth has stood beside Jason for over 15 years as he’s grown his business into what it is today.
The back story
Jason didn’t grow up in agriculture, despite being raised in an ag heavy community. His mom was a teacher and his dad was a truck driver.
When he went off to college, Jason had dreams of becoming a veterinarian. However, he was sidetracked by an agriculture internship during his junior year where he learned about row crops. Jason returned to the same internship the next summer and got to know Dr. Ford Baldwin, the University of Arkansas’s Extension Weed Scientist and a well-known name in Arkansas ag circles. Dr. Baldwin encouraged Jason to become an expert in rice production.
After graduating from college, Jason took what he’d learned from Dr. Baldwin and went to work for the University of Arkansas.
Transitioning to the farm
In 2001, while still working for the University, Jason began crop consulting, which eventually led him to make the leap to farming for himself. In his first year on the farm, Jason rented 150 acres. Nostalgic for those early days, he still remembers his first crop fondly—90 acres of rice and 60 acres of soybeans, and he still has that first truck.
As his row crop operation grew, Jason remained engaged as a crop consultant and employed in the seed business, while also quickly increasing the number of acres he farmed and building a cattle business.
Thinking back to his youth, Jason had grown up surrounded by cattle in Cherry Valley. In fact, when he was 17, his grandparents left him two cows, but things have changed a lot since then. Today, Jason holds 2,000 acres of pastureland, runs a feeder calf operation that can accommodate up to 2,000 head in Independence County, and a cow-calf operation home to nearly 300 mama cows in Cross County.
Farm Credit: a trusted partner
Jason is quick to acknowledge Farm Credit for their willingness to help him mitigate risks on this journey to grow his agriculture business. He realizes his business has grown quickly and is grateful to Farm Credit Midsouth for engaging with his vision and understanding his goals.
“Farm Credit has helped me with a lot of different projects,” Jason said. “One of my goals was the ownership of my operation, and Farm Credit realizes that the land ownership—headquarters, grain bins, all of it—is a big part of what I’m about.”
Jason is the first to admit that he sees things a little differently than many of his peers in Arkansas agriculture. And he appreciates that his lending team at Farm Credit Midsouth is accepting—even encouraging—of the ways in which he is different.
“Farm Credit Midsouth has done a good job of understanding my business and my goals,” Jason said. “You need a lender who understands where you want to go and why you want to go there. I take my hat off to Farm Credit, and I view them as a true partner in what we’re doing.”
McGee Farms is truly a team effort; Jason has had the unconditional support of his wife Allison, a registered nurse by trade. The family, which includes the couple’s children, Harrison, Conner and Maci, resides in Cross County, Arkansas.
Downtime, which perhaps doesn’t come often enough, takes the McGees to their place in Mountain Home for a little rest, relaxation and trout fishing. While Jason loves spending time there with his family, he would be perfectly happy to spend the rest of his days talking seed, crops and cattle.