A Story of Dedication and Hard Work: Jerry Allen Newby of Newby Family Farms
Jerry Allen Newby has a long history with Alabama Farm Credit (AFC). His family's business, Newby Family Farms, has operated for generations since the late 50s. He currently serves on our Young Farmer Advisory Board. We recently had the opportunity to learn more about Jerry and his story.
Jerry Allen grew up working on the farm and was taught from an early age the importance of hard work and dedication to any task. He is now working full-time on his family's farm. Jerry Allen has been running it with his two first cousins, John, and James, sister Elizabeth, and her husband, Justin, ever since. He is currently responsible for overseeing all aspects of chemical buying and spraying. "I, with our consultant, decide what products to apply to our crops," said Newby. Each holds different responsibilities that keep their farm running a successful operation.
Newby Family Farms is a primarily row crop operation focusing on cotton, corn, wheat, and soybeans, but they also have cattle. Their family has been in the business since Newby's grandfather, uncle, and father started the farm in the late 50s. "Everyone farmed back then to feed their family and feed their livestock. So they were working on that side of farming to start. Our first-row crop production in the late 50s was about 3 acres of cotton and grew from there," Newby said. Their operation has steadily grown over the years. They now operate in Limestone and Madison Counties in Alabama and Giles and Lincoln Counties in Tennessee.
From a young age, Jerry Allen knew he wanted to get started in the field the same way generations before had. When discussing how he got into the family business at a young age, Newby said, "I always knew I wanted to be a farmer. Whenever they ask you at graduation what you want to be when you grow up, and everybody says doctors, lawyers, and astronauts, I said I would be a farmer." He grew up helping his family with various tasks, fell in love with the work, and developed his passion today. For Newby, the challenges of working in agriculture have evolved. From pulling individual weeds with a tractor to running high cycle sprayers 120 ft wide - the field has seen significant changes due to technological advancements and innovation. With every new step forward comes an opportunity for farmers like Newby to learn and grow in their practices – something he's been doing so successfully for years!
Alabama Farm Credit and Newby Family Farms have a history dating back to the early 90s. Newby's grandfather served on the board here at AFC when we were at Federal Land Bank. We have come full circle with Jerry Allen serving as the Vice-Chairman on our Young Farmer Advisory Board (YFAB). YFAB started just over a year ago, in 2021, and Newby shares how that experience has been for him. He hones in on the importance of teaching young leaders things about the company so that one day they can hopefully serve in a leadership capacity on the "big" board. "It's a good tool for developing future leaders. Putting together some of the projects this board has brainstormed on, learning the ins and outs, and learning things to apply in our businesses have been very valuable. There may be different tools that AFC offers that get overlooked sometimes when you are working on a loan, so I think it's been good for both parties."
We have been fortunate to share this long-lasting relationship with the Newby family. Newby and his family have now developed connections with AFC and developed relationships with the team at our Athens Branch. He discussed how well AFC fosters relationships with borrowers and that this is their best product. "Alabama Farm Credit specializes in farms and agriculture. They know a little more about the ins and outs of everyday business on a farm because it doesn't operate like a traditional brick-and-mortar business. A lot of money goes out, and it stays out for a long time. You're praying for rain and hope you make a good crop that comes back in, and AFC understands those risks that farmers take. They're good partners to have in your corner," said Newby. Due to the emphasis on relationships with borrowers, AFC can provide advice on what is best for your operation and meet your needs because they know you personally.
In addition to being a successful farmer, Jerry Allen is also a father to two children who are now learning many of the same lessons taught him when he was young. He has ensured that each of his children has had opportunities to gain hands-on experience with farming on their terms while still learning valuable life lessons along the way.
Through hard work and dedication over multiple generations, Jerry Allen Newby has helped make Newby Family Farms one of Alabama's premier row crop producers. This success story could only have been accomplished through years of dedication to excellence in farming practices. We are proud to call him an active member of our Young Farmer Advisory Board here at AFC and look forward to seeing what more he can accomplish in years to come!