My name is Stan Usery, Jr. and I am a row crop and poultry farmer from Elkmont, AL. I have been married to my wife Kayla, who is a middle school math teacher for 16 years and we have two beautiful daughters Jessa (13) and Kate (6).
In partnership with my father we operate around 1000 acres of row crops, which include cotton, corn, soybeans, and wheat. We also are contract poultry growers for Tyson Foods, Inc., that includes nine 40×400 foot broiler houses. In addition to the farming operation I also operate a small plant parasitic nematode testing operation.
My farming career began in 1997 at the age of 15. With a co-sign from my parents I borrowed enough money to put in 23 acres of cotton and buy a used non operational cotton stripper, that required a generous amount of elbow grease and wrenching to become operational. 1997 was a disastrous year for cotton in my county, and an even worse year to start farming. I had a dismal crop and lost most of my invested money, however I picked up some custom harvesting business and scrapped up enough money and good faith from my banker to try it again the next year. 1998 proved to be an excellent year and set me on my career path to growing my small acreage and farming.
I attended Auburn University and graduated in 2003 with a B.S. in agronomy and soils and graduated in 2005 with a M.S. in plant pathology. After graduating, I returned home to the farm in 2005 and continued to expand my acreage and worked alongside my father in the poultry operation. My master’s research was primarily focused on plant parasitic nematodes, which provided me with an opportunity to use some of my acquired identification and enumeration skills to provide local producers and agronomic service companies with a nematode testing service.
I have been active in many farm organizations since my return to the farm. I have served as president of the Alabama Soybean and Corn Association, State Committee member of the Alabama Young Farmers and various other roles in the Alabama Farmers Federation. I also currently serve on my county’s soil and water board, and volunteer my time as an assistant land judging coach to my local FFA chapter.