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Chatty farmer receives award

“It’s always what I wanted and I knew I wanted to come back to the farm and raise my family here and hope my future children can carry on the same.”
CODY GOODKNIGHT
CHATTANOOGA CATTLE PRODUCER

CHATTANOOGA  A farmer and cattle producer who is now the fifth generation of his family's farm was recently presented the 2017 Tomorrow's Top Producer Horizon Award.

Cody Goodknight, a cattle producer and row-crop farmer, was presented the award during the Tomorrow's Top Producer conference last month in Nashville in front of more than 150 of his peers and also attended this year's Top Producer Seminar in Chicago. That award, sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, recognizes a producer under the age of 35 who demonstrates excellence in the business of farming. It includes marketing, farm finance and technology, as well as family and employee relations. Young farmers across the country submit applications, which are judged by a panel of industry experts.

"I'm extremely honored and appreciative to the sponsors for being chosen for the award," he said.

Goodknight is the fifth person in his family to hold the reins of Goodknight Farms, a 5,500-acre operation 7 miles northwest of Chattanooga that was founded in 1911 by his great-great grandfather, George Washington Goodknight. Since joining the farm full time in 2008, he has expanded the business, created new income streams, built a strong team and increased professionalism in the century-old organization. Goodknight and his father, John, have an equal partnership. Cody Goodknight is the manager of the operation, which includes 3,200 acres of wheat, cotton, sesame and grain sorghum; 1,600 acres of range and grassland; and a cattle operation with 200 bred heifers and 800 stocker calves. Goodknight custom farms an additional 3,000 acres locally and harvests wheat and cotton for customers in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.

The farm has two full-time team members, a part-time bookkeeper and seasonal help. John retired in 2013. Goodknight's fiancÈe, Kara Eschbach, recently joined the team and they plan to marry within the next year.

Goodknight said he has been looking forward to running the 106-year-old family farm since childhood.

"It's always what I wanted and I knew I wanted to come back to the farm and raise my family here and hope my future children can carry on the same," he said.

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