Town & Country
Name: Mike Shumaker
In Town: Mike has been the FFA advisor and agriculture teacher at Republic High School in Republic, Mo., for eight years. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a degree in agronomy. After a brief stint with Cargill, he decided to pursue teaching. When his wife got transferred to southwest Missouri, he came and did student teaching at then Southwest Missouri State, then went back and graduated in South Dakota. At Republic he teaches Ag I, Ag II, Greenhouse and the metal shop side of Ag Construction.
In the Country: Mike said with a laugh, his time at the farm is spend “fixing’ stuff most of the time.” Which makes sense, considering he runs a custom haying business and puts up fescue, brome and alfalfa hay on 450 acres. Mike said he puts up square bales, and some round bales, noting that the square bale market was great this year, but he’s had trouble moving his round bales. “I could have sold 10,000 square bales if I’d had them this year,” he noted. Because of the slow round bale market, he bought a few cows to "burn the round bales on this winter." He plans to sell them in the spring, before hay season begins again. Next year, Mike said he plans to do soybeans with one of his “landlord/partners.”
How does your job as an ag teacher compliment your farming?
“You’ve got to somehow be involved in agriculture before you can teach it. It is one thing to read out of a textbook and another thing to actually do it.”
How do you hope to improve your farming operations in the future?
“I’d like to learn more about marketing and finance. And really, I’d like to get out of forages and into more row crops. It would take the pressure off. The hay markets are hard to play. I would like to pull something out of the field and go to town and sell it, not have to first put an ad in the paper and then wonder if anyone’s going to buy it."