FFA project becomes successful business
Evergreen Custom Haying was started by Caleb Green in 2012 in Sheridan County. At the time, he was a sophomore in high school.
“I started my custom haying business as a sophomore in high school as part of my Supervised Ag Experience (SAE) Project for FFA,” explained Green, who currently also works as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor in Burns. “I was inspired by a man who ran a custom haying operation that I worked for in high school. He taught me everything I know about haying and really sparked my passion for it.”
Growing into a legitimate business
Since its humble beginnings, Evergreen Custom Haying, headquartered in Dayton, has grown into a legitimate business, offering services to its northeastern Wyoming-based clientele.
“Within my custom haying business, I cut, rake and either round or square bale my clients’ fields. I also stack hay if asked to do so,” said Green. “Besides haying, I also harrow and fertilize some of my clients’ fields in the spring.”
Green explained in some cases he is also in charge of irrigating hayfields prior to the second cutting.
“At the end of the summer, I truck my sold hay to ranchers,” Green added. “In 2019, I was up to almost 500 acres and nearly a dozen clients across Dayton, Sheridan and surrounding areas.”
Overcoming a multitude of obstacles
Although Green’s business is an entrepreneurial success story, the 25-year-old said he has had to overcome a multitude of obstacles to get where he is today.
“Starting my business in high school was a challenge,” Green stated. “I had very little money and lacked knowledge. Additionally, it was hard to establish a solid customer base.”
“Luckily, a local bank took a risk on me and granted me a loan to purchase some haying equipment,” he continued. “I started with my neighbors hay meadow, and through word of mouth, everything fell into place.”
Heavy agriculture involvement
Green noted his heavy involvement in 4-H and FFA as a kid, as well as growing up on a small family farm raising miniature cattle and chickens, ultimately led him down his career path based in agriculture.
“Being involved in the agriculture industry as both an educator and a producer has been so rewarding,” Green said. “Not only am I inspiring the future generation to be involved in leadership roles within the ag community, I myself have the privilege of living a life in production agriculture.”
“I feel so independent when I am running my own business. I am my own boss and can operate things the way I see fit,” he added. “It is because of my time spent in 4-H and FFA as well as the skills I gained as a leader, communicator and educator, that I am where I am in my life today.”
Looking toward the future
After seven consecutive summers of custom haying and building his business, Green noted he had to take a year off to get established in his first teaching job.
“I never realized how much I missed haying and building friendships with my clients and fellow agriculturalists until I had to take a break this summer,” he said. “However, this coming summer, I hope to resume operations either in the Burns area or back home in Sheridan County.”
Hannah Bugas is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.