Klinton Holliday: Sustaining a Diversified Operation Generates Success

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“The products of our farm complete a circle,” said Klinton Holliday, a full-time farmer near Prairie Home in #Agri-Ready Designated Cooper County. In partnership with his father, Chris, and his brothers Kole and Klay, the family raises poultry and grows traditional and unique grain and forage crops. “We utilize organic litter from our turkey barns to fertilize our corn fields. Our corn is sold, ground and returns to our farm as feed for our turkeys.” Klinton and his family steward the land they care for to sustain several diversified crops that make their family business a success. 

Klinton’s family manages four turkey barns and grows soybeans, corn, and wheat as cash crops. They grow and bale alfalfa and mixed grass hays to sell. The family owns, rents, and share-crops land to support their farm. They also do custom work for other landowners. “I am proud that the farm we have today is because my dad decided to become a first-generation farmer. He bought his first farm in 1993 and everything we have today has been built from that foundation,” Klinton shared.

As a member of FFA, Klinton always enjoyed handling and showing poultry. As a way of diversifying the income of the farm, the family began raising turkeys 20 years ago. Their turkey barns have been renovated to incorporate modern technology updates that make the structures safe and efficient for their birds. The farm receives 12,000 baby chicks at a time. These birds are raised in two of the barns until they are 24 weeks old, then they are transferred to the other two barns where they lay eggs in nesting boxes. The eggs gathered at Klinton’s family farm are shipped to hatcheries to be incubated and hatched, then distributed to turkey farmers throughout the country to be grown into meat birds. 

Biosecurity is important to all poultry producers and the Holliday’s are no different. “We have been very proactive concerning the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza with prevention techniques and keeping ourselves educated,” Klinton said. “We shower in the barns when entering and exiting, we use specialized clothing and boots, we sanitize the barns regularly. Since other animals can move the disease, we have fenced around our barns to always keep other animals out.” These efforts are proof that Klinton and his family and other poultry producers are highly invested in the safety of their birds and the food supplied to consumers.

A unique crop that the family has invested in is Miscanthus gigantus. They have been growing this hybrid grass since 2013. The crop is an investment in time and effort; it is a perennial that is planted as rhizome starts and takes three years to establish. It grows 14-16 feet tall throughout the growing season and is only harvested once in December or January, a very unusual time for any crop to be mowed and baled. The Miscanthus bales that leave the Holliday farm are used as natural fiber in pet foods in Missouri and become disposable cups and plates in Kentucky. This crop has worked well for the Holliday family because it grows well in marginal, rocky pastures, and fields with more clay in the soil profile. This allows the family to reap a crop and income from areas of their farm that are not conducive to traditional row crops. “The Miscanthus has been a great business opportunity for us to diversify the farm. It produces a high tonnage on each acre. We can harvest it and market it from our farm during a season when we would otherwise be slow for income,” Klinton shared. “It has given us a chance to be innovative as well. We have designed our own custom equipment that makes Miscanthus harvest easier.” 

Klinton was a member of the previous Policy Leaders Fellowship cohort (now known as the IA-MO Grassroots Fellowship), a collaborative initiative of the Iowa and Missouri Soybeans Associations to develop young industry leaders with media and advocacy training through learning modules and legislative visits. “My main take-away from participating in leadership trainings was learning how to effectively shape policy by reaching out to senators and representatives to share the stories that will encourage them to help U.S. agriculture as a whole,” Klinton said. “It is neat to get the opportunity to participate in the policy conversation.” Since 2016, Klinton has been a farmer representative on behalf of the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council to the U.S. Poultry Export Council.

Klinton’s wife, Hannah, works as a nurse and helps on the farm. The couple are excited to welcome their first child in October 2024. Klinton is a member of the Prairie Home Lions Club and the local fair board. The family is active with their church congregation at Riverside Christian Church in Boonville. Klinton is a member of Missouri Soybeans, a partner of Missouri Farmers Care.