Some high school seniors develop senioritis in their last semester, evidenced by a decline in motivation. Not Daviess County High School senior Carson Montgomery.
In addition to filling is schedule completely with online college classes — allowing him graduate with his associate’s degree — Montgomery is working daily for his chosen career as a cattle farmer.
Montgomery recently purchased a 100-acre farm through the help of his family and a Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan. And he has just added a load of cattle that he plans to raise and then sell.
Montgomery said when he was 10 years old, he began helping Stuart Foster on his cattle farm. That’s where his desire to be a cattle farmer began.
“Both grandparents were into it, but I truly found it was for me,” Montgomery said.
He then started working with Daniel Hayden of Hayden Farms, and it was there that Montgomery purchased his first calf. He said he learned a lot while working with Hayden and continues to go to him for advice.
Montgomery then reconnected with Foster, who offered the teenager a chance to purchase cattle with him — at first one to five calves, and then half-loads that were kept at Foster’s farm.
“He has helped so much,” Montgomery said of Foster.
He also now works with Freddy and Jake Marksberry, who share their farming knowledge with Montgomery.
This past summer, while taking classes for his associate’s degree in diesel technology, Montgomery worked in a diesel mechanic shop. That’s where he decided for sure what he wanted to do for his career — and it wasn’t what he was in school for.
“I didn’t realize how much I missed it [cattle farming and the calves],” he said. “I know there is more money in a diesel mechanic job, but I felt a hole in my heart.”
Because it isn’t easy for a teenager to purchase land, Montgomery relied on the help of others to walk him through the FSA process and help secure the loan. Montgomery had always used the loans and paid them back with his previous cattle, but it was more stringent for the land purchase.
With the continued support of his family and specifically his parents Tony and Monica, Montgomery purchased his farm. It’s located about 15 minutes from his home in Whitesville, where Montgomery goes each morning to check on his calves, especially his newest ones as they are “really stressed to get back to their mom and will bawl all night” he said.
Montgomery realizes that his education is non-traditional by working with and learning from various farmers in the community. He said the constant support he has received from the farming community and all of the vocational training each has provided has allowed him to be confident in his cattle career.
“Being out here on the farm is basically being in a big classroom,” Montgomery said.
After working on his farm each morning, he goes home to do his classwork for a few hours, eat lunch and then return to the farm at night. He also works for the Marksberrys, and one day a week at Kentuckiana Livestock Market — which is also where he learned to select cattle for his farm with the help of Danny Fulkerson.
“You really need to develop a relationship with the person,” he said of those he trusts to help him buy his cattle. “It takes a really good eye knowing what to look for.”
Montgomery’s future has already begun with his latest load of calves and by the time he graduates, he hopes to have close to 120 cattle to raise.
“I hope to keep growing and stay around Whiteville,” he said.
Montgomery is also training Annie, his Blue Heeler, to help on the farm.
“This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and if I can do it, anyone can,” Montgomery said. “Don’t give up on a dream.”