By Taylor Parrish
NC Department of Agriculture
FOUR OAKS – Brandon Batten, current farm manager of Triple B Farms in Johnston County, grew up on the family farm and has fond memories of learning the trade from his father and grandfather.
“Our farm was started in the mid-late 70’s by my grandfather and has grown immensely since that day,” he said, “my earliest memories on the farm are helping to care for the hogs, which we used to have a lot of back then, and learning the ins and outs of farming from my father.”
Triple B Farms currently raises beef cattle as well as a variety of row crops, including tobacco, corn, wheat, soybeans and hay.
“One of my favorite things about farming is that I get to do something different everyday,” Brandon said, “one day I might be helping in the fields and the next day I might be keeping up with our GAP and food safety records, but no matter what, each day presents a new opportunity.”
A typical day on the farm depends on the season, but usually starts early with spraying, planting and bailing. In the afternoon, Brandon and his family are busy moving cattle to greener pastures, managing the greenhouse and ensuring all other responsibilities are taken care of.
As if managing a farm wasn’t enough, Brandon also started his own company, The Flying Farmer LLC, to help farmers like himself utilize drone technology on their farm. “As an engineering major, I have always been fascinated by ag technology and I saw a potential in 2017 to offer my knowledge and service in the area to other farmers,” he said.
In 2017, Brandon was given a grant through N.C. State Cooperative Extension and the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund that ultimately influenced him and his father to purchase a drone for surveying purposes on the farm. Since that day, Brandon has been offering the same service to other farmers in the area through this company.
“Technology is still a very new and growing part of agriculture, but I see a day coming where it’s presence will be wider and it’s impact on farms will be bigger,” he said, “we need bright young people in agriculture to not only come in and know how to utilize this material on the farm, but know how to improve upon it and make it better.”
Although the uncertainty year-to-year can be worrisome, Brandon says there is no greater joy than getting to do what you love everyday. “In production agriculture, 80% of what affects my bottom line is out of my control,” he said, “however, taking a seed out of a bag and nurturing it until it becomes something that we are not only proud of but that our customers desire is the ultimate reward. I wouldn’t trade anything for it.”
Products from Triple B Farm and the Flying Farmer are currently not offered directly to consumers, but this is a goal that Brandon has in mind for the future. In addition, he plans to diversify the crops offered at his farm and continue to drive innovation in the industry.
For those interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, Brandon reminds you not to get discouraged and never give up. “A lot of times farmers are faced with stereotypes like Old McDonald,” he said, “but that is really not the case. There are many avenues you can pursue in the agriculture industry, but you have to stick with it and really be dedicated to it.”
As a father of three, Brandon is passionate about the future of our agriculture industry and hopes to raise his children on the family farm, instilling in them the same passion for agriculture that he has today.
(Reprinted with permission from NC Department of Agriculture)