What is in this article?:
• Anthony Reed and his family have been growing peanuts since the 1940s.
• Chester Reed began raising peanuts for the government.
• Farmer says, “We don’t have any future stability with the markets.”
Perhaps the most unique feature of Reed’s operation is his labor arrangement. He hires no help, relying instead on his neighbors and family. “The small acreage farmers in central Oklahoma and Texas rely on each other, sharing equipment and help. This is one of the things that does make us unique. We can help each other on the spur of the moment.” For instance, when frost threatened his peanuts in early November, he made some calls. “My best friend came and we had people out here all day. When he’s ready to work his cattle in the spring, I’ll go help him.”
Reed talks with pride about his farm, family and community. “I’ve always loved the peanut business. It’s a very specific, specialty crop.” On the downside, Reed has watched as the industry changed. “A lot of infrastructure has been lost, resulting in fewer growers.”
Reed, like other farmers, voices concern over the future. “I’m concerned that we don’t have any future stability with the markets. I was raised under the old programs in which the government sets the support price for manufacturers.”
In addition to row crops, the Reeds also run a cow/calf operation with approximately 150 head of Maine Anjou. He laughs when thinking about his parents’ views on cattle. “Mom loved them; Dad hated them!”
Although Reed and his wife Karen talk about retiring one day, he says he’ll always have a few cows and will grow peanuts. “I don’t know if I’ll ever retire. There’s nothing I love more than sitting on a tractor and watching the ground turn over.” With five children and nine grandchildren, there’s never a lack of motion. “They all love to come out to the peanut field.”
Humble, Reed deflects any attention from his own accomplishments. “He won’t tell you, but he really is the one who makes it all work. He has vision,” says his wife Karen.
In the past, Reed has been a member of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission and served on the board of the Southwestern Peanut Growers Association. He has also earned the distinction of having the highest grade in his county.
When asked about advice to aspiring farmers, he hesitates. “I’d tell them to get a good education first. Then if you still choose ag and it fits, try it. It’s just difficult to get into agriculture today unless your family has been in it.”
It is those relationships of which he is most proud. “To be able to have the community and friendships...I really appreciate the community of farmers across this state and the life it provides me.”