Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Caleb Brannon
Student, Researcher, Farmer and Entrepreneur

Puryear, Tennessee
Caleb's Perspective

Caleb Brannon is a successful young entrepreneur and dedicated researcher, successful in FFA and innovative in his own agricultural pursuits.

With his brother, Caleb owns a 42-acre row crop farm on land previously owned by their great-grandmother and has production enterprises on the family farm. At 15, Caleb founded Brannon AgriEnergy, an agribusiness producing and marketing switchgrass and other bio-energy crops for biomass energy and future cellulosic ethanol research. His vision for stewardship and energy development inspired him at age 18 to secure funding from River Valley Ag Credit for a 10kW solar system.

Referencing the FFA Creed, Caleb says, “My passion regarding shaping the future of agriculture has inspired and motivated me daily to not only set my goals high through ‘words’ but also to work diligently through ‘deeds’ to obtain them.”

Since moving into a collegiate environment, Caleb has expanded his leadership roles serving in many clubs and acting as an ambassador for both Murray State University (MSU) and the MSU School of Agriculture. He also works with MSU Farm operations, including research on crops and testing and burning several bio-energy crops with the Equine Center biomass heating unit which heats the building to keep students and horses warm during winter classes. He also worked with professors, the farm manager, and other students in planting and researching the first crops of hemp planted in Kentucky in recent years after it was legalized through the Federal Farm Bill. Through this project, he conducted research and presented his findings as part of Posters at the Kentucky Capital undergraduate research conference.

Caleb’s involvement in crop research on the family farm involves working with the Extension Service, Monsanto and Helena to conduct on farm variety trials, some of which involve testing new corn hybrids to help identify varieties that increase production using less water resources. As a highlight of his bioenergy research, he was invited to present a poster at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Biomass 2014 conference in Washington, D.C., where he impressed members of the academic community and federal officials with his research and results.

Caleb has won 19 regional and 10 FFA state championships. In 2011, he was state and national winner of the Agriculture Entrepreneurship Contest, in 2014 he was the state champion and national finalist in Agriscience Research and in 2015 he was state champion and national winner in Research in Integrated Agricultural Systems. In 2014, he was named Kentucky FFA State Star Farmer.

Caleb completed the “triple crown,” earning college scholarships sponsored by BASF in successive years through the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association and the National Wheat Growers Foundation. He was also twice selected as the state and local winner of the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts scholarship and the local Calloway County Conservation District Scholarship.

“Hunger never sleeps and to feed a growing world that is expected to reach nine billion people by 2050, farmers will need new tools including advancements in biotechnology and information technology,” says Caleb. “Most of all, the future will require us to tell our story. This is why I want to be a part of the next generation of agriculture.”

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