A Step Closer to the Plate
Christian, Philip, and Janelle Good, owners of Philip Good Farms
Adding catfish to row crop farm facilitates growth
With 3,000 acres of corn, soybeans, and cotton, row crops are the most abundantly grown commodity on Philip Good’s land, but he has made strides during nearly 45 years of farming to diversify his inventory.
In 1999, 20 years after he graduated high school and began farming, he added catfish to his operation.
“It was an opportunity to take soybeans and corn raised on our farm a step closer to the plate,” he explains. “Catfish consume 28-percent-protein feed that uses local soy, so we can market our fish as locally farm-fed.”
Good and his son, Christian, run Philip Good Farms in Macon. In addition to growing row crops and catfish, they also raise cattle.
“Christian is involved in management, marketing, and decision making,” Philip shares. “My wife, Janelle, does the farm accounting and office work. I have an outstanding farm team, and several MSU interns help as well. I was born into a farm family and followed the footsteps of multiple generations before me.”
Christian was part of the first class of the Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation established TCALP to help emerging agricultural leaders in the state develop leadership skills and policy knowledge.
Philip’s father, Paul Good, was featured in a previous issue of Extension Matters.
Advocating for MSU Extension is a common thread through the three generations of producers. For decades, they have relied on the research-based information and education offered by Extension specialists, agents, and publications.
“In our catfish operation, we have brought samples to MSU to help with disease diagnosis and treatment options. This has helped us get prescriptions for medicated feed when necessary,” says Philip. “With our cattle operation, the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine has been valuable for diagnoses and breeding soundness exams for bulls sold from our registered Charolais herd.”
— Philip Good
For their row crop operations, the Goods take soil samples they collect for testing to the Extension soil lab. They also use corn and soybean variety yield results compiled and published by Extension when planning for their next plantings.
“The annual corn and soybean variety short lists help with our seed selection each year,” Philip says. “Most recently, Extension irrigation specialists have helped maximize our sprinkler irrigation systems. Being in the Prairie region of the state, we have limited resources from our reservoir lakes. This has helped us to efficiently use every drop of water.”
Philip is also a regular at the annual MSU Row Crop Short Course, which was initiated in 1983 as the Cotton Short Course and expanded in 2009 to accommodate growers of other row crops. This year, Christian attended in Philip’s place due to other commitments he had as the treasurer of the United Soybean Board.
“Christian took thorough notes that we will review, analyze, and apply to our operation,” Philip says. “The short course has been and continues to be a consistent source of updated research and information for all who attend. I’ve appreciated the nuggets of information I get from the short course that come to mind throughout the year.”
He named a handful of MSU Extension agents and specialists—present and past—who offer valuable production advice. One regular source is Extension soybean specialist Dr. Trent Irby.
“Philip is an outstanding producer who is willing to be proactive in his crop management,” Irby affirms. “He always strives for better quality and higher yields in his row crops and stays in tune with those resources he can use to reach his goals. It is a pleasure to work with Philip and help with any questions or issues wherever we can.”
Philip said Extension scientists and educators have been instrumental in the continued success of his farm and career.
“All of their podcasts, bulletins, publications, phone calls, texts, field days, and classes throughout the years have been priceless to me,” he says. “I continue to glean from all of these sources, and I also appreciate the education Christian received as a student at MSU, preparing him to come back to the farm with fresh ideas.”
Farmweek, August 2016, announces Farmer of the Year Paul Good