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

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FarmLife: What life lesson can you offer?

Danny Kornegay

Danny Kornegay

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.