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Kirk's Story

6,000 acres; Corn, Soybeans

St. Landry Parish, Louisiana


Weathering Every Storm

For Kirk Stelly, farming is a family endeavor. He manages 6,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wetlands in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, alongside his brother, nephew and father. His nephew will be a fourth-generation farmer once he eventually takes over the management responsibilities.

“I wouldn’t farm without family, because it’s such a stressful job to begin with, you know?” says Stelly.

Farmers in southern Louisiana have many concerns that cause stress. Low commodity prices combined with high input costs make every season a balancing act. Adding to profitability concerns, growers have to consider years of erratic weather, including the impacts from eight hurricanes and tropical storms in 2020 alone.

“We’ve been having some crazy weather the past few years,” Stelly says. “I tell everybody we’re not farming, we’re extreme farming. It’s unpredictable.”

To help reduce costs and boost efficiency, Stelly enrolled in the AgriEdge® partnership in 2010. The partnership offers a set of digital tools, including satellite mapping, that allow Stelly to boost his yield potential and track performance field by field.

“When we mapped out our fields and I could pull that up at any time, I could show co-workers and employees our data on the computer and print out anything. It really made my job easier trying to explain things,” Stelly says. “We actually have 68 farm numbers on these 6,000 acres. I have them all individually mapped out on this thing. It’s pretty cool.”

The AgriEdge partnership has accessible recordkeeping tools that allow Stelly to compare year-over-year input costs and crop performance by individual farm plots. Combined with the product cost-sharing component of AgriEdge, the partnership has led to a reduction of overall costs for his operations.

“You can see how much money you’ve spent at the push of a button. That really takes the guesswork out of my job,” Stelly says. “I can pull up my data and see exactly where I’m at to make better choices.”

Service and Support

Stelly, in his own words, is not someone who loves computers, so setting up the AgriEdge software seemed like a challenge at first. Some quick tech support from his daughter helped him build confidence in using the software.

“At the time, nobody in my family was computer savvy except my 20-year-old daughter, and she helped me out,” says Stelly. “I really started to enjoy using AgriEdge, and it really started to go well.”

AgriEdge specialists are available to offer assistance from enrollment and through each year. Every farmer enrolled in AgriEdge receives dedicated, personalized support from specialists to help with the program itself and all other aspects of agronomic decision-making.

“When I started, my AgriEdge specialist was here for me. She had so much patience and really helped me through this,” says Stelly.