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Willis's Story

8,595 acres; Corn, Wheat, Soybeans, Tobacco, Watermelons, Indigo

Orlinda, Tennessee


Sustaining a legacy

America had only been an independent nation for 30 years when Willis Jepson’s ancestors started farming near the Tennessee-Kentucky border in 1806. Jepson now represents the seventh generation of his family to work that very same land. He credits those who came before him with the success and longevity of the family farm.

“We’ve had a lot of generations before us that have worked hard and made a lot of good decisions, and we want to carry on that tradition,” Jepson says.

An expanding operation

The hard work has never changed, but as Jepson’s farming operation has grown, good decision making has become more complicated. The 8,595-acre farm now produces a wide variety of crops including corn, soybean, wheat, tobacco, watermelon and indigo. The size and diversity of the operation can make it difficult to accurately track the cost of production.

“We collect so many data points,” Jepson says. “Whether we’re planting, applying fertilizer, applying chemicals or harvesting, we create this mountain of data.”

He uses the software offered by the AgriEdge® partnership to help tackle that mountain of data. Jepson has wirelessly integrated this technology into his farming equipment using cloud-based technology. This allows him to automatically collect data throughout the growing process, which eliminates the need for manual data input. Jepson can then hone in on his production cost on a per field basis.

“Getting cost per unit farm-by-farm, crop-by-crop and then even field-by-field lets us make better long-term decisions when we aggregate data and trends between different farms,” Jepson says.

A helping hand

AgriEdge works for Jepson because it’s quick and easy to use, and because of the partnership’s outstanding and accessible localized support.

“They understand the seasonality of what we do, and they understand how each block builds upon the other through the crop year,” he says.

After each crop is harvested, Jepson reviews data with his local AgriEdge specialist to come up with a plan for the next season. With the insights of AgriEdge-generated data, and the support of his local AgriEdge specialist, Willis is well-informed, and prepared to make the good decisions that will keep his family farm running.