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Nash County young farm couple learn to grow their business
A young Nash County farm couple, Brent and Sue Leggett, were among the inaugural group of young, beginning, small, and minority farmers who recently completed a Farm Credit University (FCU) AgBiz Planner program, sponsored by AgCarolina Financial, a farmer member financial cooperative serving central and eastern North Carolina.

The Leggett’s successfully completed the college-level, online course over several months and learned to develop business and financial plans, as well as budgeting and management skills essential to a farm’s success.

Their business, Leggett Farming Partnership, is a diversified farming operation covering approximately 2,400 crop acres.  Commodities grown include tobacco, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, cotton and soybeans. They also grows NC Certified Micropropagated sweet potato seed and plants and strawberries, which they sell at two roadside markets.

Brent Leggett is also a shareholder in a cotton gin and a top 100 rated produce firm. He started farming part-time in 2003 but became a full time farmer in 2005. A graduate of NC State University, Brent earned an A.A. degree in agribusiness management and field crops technology, while Sue earned a B.S. degree in Agronomy.

As a wrap-up to the program, the young farm couple recently attended a two-day FCU AgBiz Planner Conference in Raleigh. From sessions led by Dr. David Kohl, an agricultural finance and business management expert, they and 26 other farmers in the program gained additional insight on how to better manage their farming operations.

Recounting what he learned from the AgBiz Planner program, Brent Leggett said, “I gathered valuable detailed information to finalize our business plan.” Sue Leggett adds, “We also had the opportunity to network with other young growers that face the same daily challenges that we do.”

As part of the AgBiz Planner program, the Leggett’s had a close mentoring relationship with Sam Johnson, a senior financial services officer working in the Rocky Mount branch office of AgCarolina Financial. Sharing his thoughts on the value of the program, Johnson said, “In addition to learning marketing and business management skills, Brent and Sue now has a better understanding of how to prepare documents to apply for loans and credit for future expansion.”  The Leggett’s have been a member of AgCarolina Financial for ten years.

Of the inaugural year of the AgBiz Planner program, AgCarolina Financial CEO Eugene Charville said, “We are pleased to have provided this educational opportunity for these farmers to learn and benefit in ways that are certain to enhance their farming operations.”

Pictured (Above): A Nash County young farmer couple, Sue and Brent Leggett, receive their AgBiz Planner certificate and congratulations from AgCarolina Financial CEO Eugene Charville (left), while their mentor, Sam Johnson, of the financial cooperative’s Rocky Mount branch office, proudly looks on. On the far right are FCU Managing Director Alicia Morris and Dr. David Kohl, the developer of the AgBiz Planner program. (Photo submitted)

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