With tractors, chickens and cows, Sean and Morgan McDonald run a diversified operation in Jones County on a combination of land from both of their families.
“Morgan’s parents agreed to help us form a corporation to buy her grandparents’ farm, so that we could get started,” Sean said. “Two years later, we were able to buy their share of the corporation, we’ve never looked back.”
Add in six-year-old Blake, four-year old Bailey and Morgan’s job as an elementary school teacher, and your 2021 Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award winners almost never slow down.
“The importance of agriculture is something that was ingrained in both of us from a young age,” Morgan said of her and Sean. “We feel like it’s our duty to instill that same knowledge in our kids, so that we can one day hand this farm over to them.”
Despite understanding the importance of agriculture at an early age, operating eight chicken houses, raising cattle and baling hay was not always what Sean and Morgan imagined for their lives.
“I actually went to the University of Southern Mississippi to become a physical therapist,” Sean said. “Once I got into the program, I just didn’t feel like it fit me. I could feel the farm always calling my back.”
“I remember my dad telling me one day while we were working on the farm, ‘Morgan, you need to know how to do this. You’re going to run this farm one day.’ I said, ‘No, daddy, I’m not. I’m going to be a teacher.’ Little did I know, I would marry Sean, and we would be running the farm together. We are so thankful the Lord had that in our future, and we did not even know it at the time.”
Sean and Morgan credit the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers program will helping them pursue and achieve their dreams.
“I feel like Farm Bureau has opened doors we did not know where there,” Morgan said. “For example, it has taught me how to use my career as a teacher to educate others about agriculture. I’m able to share agriculture with my students and their families. It has allowed me to be more involved in our community do things I would not have typically done otherwise.”
“We think it’s very important to educate those off the farm about what we do,” Sean said. “The YF&R program has helped us do that. It has also helped us to network with other young farmers. We’ve met numerous friends who we never would have met if we had not participated in this program.”
Whether in a classroom full of students or on the farm with their own children, Sean and Morgan enjoy telling the story of agriculture to the next generation.
“I feel like I have unique opportunity to share agriculture with my students because of my agriculture background and our farm story,” Morgan said.
“We take great pride in showing our kids how food is grown, gets to the grocery store and then gets to the table,” Sean said.