Over the years, he has raised cattle, hogs, rabbits, chickens, peppers, sugar beets and popcorn. At one time, he had 700 hogs, but cut back on hogs during the 1990s as he increased burley tobacco acreage.

As he reduced livestock and increased grain crops, Travis added larger equipment. His equipment now includes three planters, two combines and five grain carts. He hires trucking to haul his crops and occasionally hires custom spraying and harvesting. His plans also call for upgrading his grain storage system.

He relies on crop insurance and reduces drought risk by spreading maturities for the corn and soybeans he plants. He plants seed with insect and herbicide resistance traits, along with newer traits for drought tolerance.

He prepays expenses for crop inputs and land rent. Early on, he had trouble finding land to rent, but his work in the community has allowed him to build relationships with landlords who now seek him out to farm their land.

In 1985, he had one landlord, but now has 30. He says that being a good steward allows him to rent much of the same land year after year. He controls erosion by relying extensively on no-till planting, by establishing and maintaining grassed waterways, and by building retention basins.

With low interest rates, he has bought farmland, and hopes to continue doing so. Buying land close to his home would allow him to give up rented land away from the home. “This would give younger farmers the opportunities I had early in my career,” he explains.

As part of a long-term growth and diversification strategy, Travis has invested in residential and commercial real estate. He uses his own equipment to build roads and to help landscape the property. This property is in an ideal location, in one of Kentucky’s fastest growing counties and across the street from two new schools. And until all of the lots are sold, Travis continues to farm this land.

Travis raised his first tobacco crop at age six. At age 14, he bought six gilts that began his hog operation. In 1985 at age 17, he rented 320 acres with a friend. He bought his first land in 1987 where he now makes his home.