When “Little Trav,” as he’s known, talks about farming he does so with a rare enthusiasm for this job he loves.
A continued tradition
Travis and his wife Bridget, along with Travis Senter Sr. and his wife Edra, operate Senter Farms in Keiser, Arkansas. The family grows soybeans, long-grain rice, corn, and—at the heart of it all—cotton on 8,800 acres. They also operate their own cotton gin, built-in 1994, and a land leveling and excavation business which gives them the ability to provide proper irrigation and drainage in their own fields and others. Combined, they have been farming for more than 65 years.
The apple doesn’t fall far, as they say. “Big Trav” farmed with his father Harold. He grew up following in his father’s footsteps, knowing this was all he ever wanted to do.
While tradition is strong on the farm, Travis notes the operations have changed over the years. He was born toward the end of what he termed “analog time,” leaving him with a keen interest in rapidly emerging technology that can streamline operations, increase efficiency and productivity, and improve processes in the field. Today, the Senters benefit from field prescriptions, satellite imagery, drone technology, moisture sensors, grid sampling, and so much more.
Technology enables Travis to track, in real-time, precisely what’s happening in every corner of the farm. This saves critical time in reacting to any issues which may arise and helps avoid critical mistakes. Each night, he evaluates the data and reviews drone images, scanning 1,000 acres in 10 minutes. He knows where he needs water; he can monitor moisture levels at harvest, and he knows precisely what has come out and what is left.
Travis is thrilled to contribute to game-changing technology, both on his own and working with the John Deere Company’s “lead-user group.” He helps develop new ideas for the machine tracking and data gathering website and mobile app they produce. It’s not uncommon for him to walk right out of a rice field and into his truck for a video conference with software engineers in Germany or India.
A trusted lender
Little Trav and the Senter family have relied on Farm Credit Mid-America for as long as he can remember, yet he points to just a couple of loan officers over that entire span. He also has served on the Farm Credit Mid-America Board Nominating Committee. When asked what it sets Farm Credit Mid-America apart from the myriad of other potential lenders, Travis said, “There is value in feeling like you are a part of something. A trust.”