Kenton Javorsky, a grain farmer from western Oklahoma, lives by the philosophies, 'bigger isn't always better' and 'success doesn't mean the same thing for everyone.'
“Success is a relative term, and I don’t ever want to think I’ve figured it out,” Kenton said. “Instead of getting bigger any more, I’m working to do better with the land I have.”
Slow and sizable growth
20 years ago, Kenton started out with 400 acres. Today, with the help of his wife and now his children, he raises wheat, canola and milo (sorghum) on his 3,400 acre farm. He also has a herd of 35 cow/calf pairs, up from the seven head he started with, though down from the several hundred he had a few years ago before the widespread drought forced him to reduce his herd.
Always trying something new
One strategy Kenton is using to improve his operation long-term is planting cover crops to improve soil health. For example, one year, he planted 700 acres of turnips and radishes that weren't harvested for food. Instead, they became part of the soil. This increased its bioactivity, added nutrients and broke up the hard pan ground. “We’re learning that feeding the soil improves the health of the crops,” he said. “The whole idea is to do what we can to raise more bushels of grain on every acre we have, and do it more efficiently and with less water so we conserve our resources.”
That was the first time Kenton had planted such a high number of acres in cover crops and the first time he had planted turnips and radishes. “If I read something that’s working, I want to try it,” he said. “Farming is like continuous learning.”
Learning through Farm Credit
Kenton has also learned through his position on the Board of Directors of Western Oklahoma Farm Credit, where he’s been a customer-owner for 19 years. First appointed in 2009 and elected multiple times since, he’s helped govern the financial institution while also learning ways to improve his farming operation. “The other directors are sharp and understand agriculture and credit,” he said. “It’s been very beneficial to learn how things operate in a successful business and to take new ideas home to my own operation.”
Life long passion for ag
While Kenton hesitates to define success, he has no trouble explaining why he loves to farm. “There’s something about planting a seed and watching it develop, or seeing a baby calf being born,” he said. “Ag just gets in your blood. It’s hard to describe, but there’s not another job like it.”