Last year, he sold 175 calves at weights of 500 to 600 pounds. He sells calves to a nearby farm that carries the animals to heavier weights through a backgrounding operation. Cannada has a longstanding business relationship with the buyer and has been pleased with the prices he receives for his calves. He has built fences, a loading chute and designed and built a 75- by 100-foot steel working pen for treating his cattle.

“We’re fortunate to have two end users of corn within 40 miles of our farm,” says Cannada. He prices 60 percent of his anticipated corn production in March prior to harvest. He sells a portion to the Cal-Maine poultry operation and some to a Bunge-Ergon ethanol plant.

“I store the remaining 40 percent of my corn for a few months after harvesting and sell it to Cal-Maine. This historically brings me higher prices,” he adds.

He prices about half of his soybeans before delivery to a grain elevator in Louisiana, and delivers the rest to the same buyer after harvesting at the prevailing market prices.

He hopes to start using chicken litter as fertilizer for his pasture and hay land. Most of his hay is used in his cow-calf operation, but he also sells about 75 to 100 bales each year to local producers.

Cannada also owns timberland. His tree farm includes 300 acres of hardwoods and 150 acres of pine trees. Some of the trees are in the Conservation Reserve Program. “The CRP gives us annual income from marginal land while providing wildlife habitat and helping to control erosion,” he says.

Select cutting of hardwoods has provided money during years when farm income has been low. “I also help manage 2,500 acres of timber and CRP land for family members,” he adds. “In return, I get to use this land for recreation.”

He doesn’t remember, but his former kindergarten teacher told him that he once missed school as a four-year-old to work on the farm. His grandfather later confirmed this incident.

Cannada does remember riding with his grandfather to check on cattle when he was eight years old.

In 1998 while he was still in college, his grandfather retired and gave him 230 head of beef cattle along with two tractors and hay equipment. After graduating from Mississippi State University in 2000, he returned to the family business to farm full time.