Fueling Entrepreneurship — Jake and Jaclyn Sheppard
Fueling Entrepreneurship with the Sheppards
Jake and Jackie Sheppard each have history on family farms. They are well suited to continue the profession alongside Jake’s parents, Ted and Barbara Sheppard, on approximately 1,200 Agri-Ready Texas County acres. The Sheppards grow their own hay and chop their corn and wheat crops into silage, an important fodder for cows which is preserved through fermentation. Historically, the Sheppard family has milked cows, but now they have diversified into a mostly beef operation.
Many family farms are supported by off-farm income in today’s agriculture industry, but Jake’s entrepreneurial spirit is helping him succeed while farming 100% of the time. Unique recycling ideas on the Sheppard farm help make this possible. For example, in a “regular” year, 50% of the fertilizer used on the farm is chicken litter. This year, when fertilizer costs are challenging all farmers, Jake is being resourceful by using chicken litter for 90% of his fertilizer. The Sheppard farm also has a pump system on the dairy lagoon. One mile of piping was installed to get useful manure from the dairy to the corn field where it can be recycled as fertilizer. Farm recycling strategies like these help the Sheppard farm be more sustainable and economically viable.
Jake’s independence as an entrepreneur is very important to him, and he recognizes his autonomy comes with broad responsibilities. One of these responsibilities includes advocating for agriculturalists. Jake said animal welfare is something he takes seriously.
“Nobody cares about my animals more than I care about my animals.” Jake said conservation is another issue of concern. “We must practice conservation to save our soil and keep it. I may plant three times a year to keep my soil intact.”
Jake and Jaclyn are proud to grow food that feeds families and hope that consumers will take pause while shopping.
“The prices you are paying in the grocery store do not accurately reflect the income returning to the farm gate,” Jaclyn shared.
Jaclyn understands there are many misconceptions surrounding the industry, so she takes any opportunity to share agriculture accurately with students as a teacher at Cabool Elementary.
For summer fun, the family enjoys the lake and the Sheppards’ four daughters show lambs at the local fair. Jake and Jaclyn both give back to the agriculture community as members of the local Tri-County Fair Board and Cabool Friends of the FFA. They also serve on the Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee of Missouri Farm Bureau, a member of Missouri Farmers Care.