Lessons Learned: Farmer of the Year Danny Kornegay
The 2015 Southeastern Farmer of the Year explains why starting a farm today would be harder than back when and why trying to predict the future is just plain “hard.”
By Des Keller | Photos By Will & Deni McIntyre
FarmLife: What life lesson can you offer?
Danny Kornegay: If you work and are honest, and try to be good to people and good to your children, you’ll get what you need.
FL: Who has been a major influence on your life and career?
DK: My wife, Susie, has always been a big backer of whatever I wanted to do. I also had one big landowner who I worked for as a teenager tell me that I would have to own land if I wanted to farm. So over the years I have bought land when it was at a good price to insure that I would have the land, and that my children and grandchildren would have plenty of opportunity to continue to farm.
FL: What have you learned from those older or younger than you?
DK: I’ve learned a lot about technology from both my son and daughter in terms of what can be automated or done through the computer. My son can turn on a center pivot irrigation rig with his telephone.
FL: How has your lifestyle changed over the years?
DK: I spend more time with my grandchildren than I did with my children. I was working all the time when my children were small.
FL: What have you learned about trying to predict the future?
DK: It is hard. When I was young you never saw a tractor with a cab on it. Now you have the tractor driving itself.
FL: What is something you’d like to learn to do but never have?
DK: I should have learned how to play golf years ago. I don’t have a hobby. I do wish I’d taken flying lessons. I wish I had done that.
FL: Can somebody start in this business today the way you did?
DK: It would be harder now. You have to have so much more land, money and labor, and a lot of patience. My Dad took a week off work in 1963 to plant using a new Massey Ferguson 35.