A quarter century ago, I excitedly left my hometown of 10,000 to attend the University of Missouri. I was plunging into a student population of more than 25,000. Just the students amounted to two and a half times the population of my entire hometown. During the prior two years of high school, I had often dream-ed of leaving little things behind that seemed too “small-town.”
However, it was amazing how quickly my “leave it in the mirror” attitude morphed. My hometown is deeply rooted in me. So just a few months after making a break for it, I was filled with excitement on my first return trip home to Kennett, Mo., for Thanksgiving break. In all my remaining semesters at Mizzou, I would savor getting home to see both family and friends.
I proudly graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in agriculture. Seven months after graduation, I had two interesting opportunities. I could either work for an agricultural chemical company in Florida or an agricultural equipment manufacturer in Memphis. I chose the latter. I was off and running. I would enjoy the next 18 years working for Case IH.
Two years into my time in Memphis the company dissolved our office and offered me a position in Denver. During this three-year stint I traveled most of the western half of the United States. It was an awesome opportunity to see new places. One evening, later than normal, the phone rang and caller ID suggested it was from the company’s headquarters. I soon realized a “reorg” was underway. I was headed to Baton Rouge, La.
I had never dreamed of living in southern Louisiana. It was hot and humid, and I struggled at first to understand folks’ deep Southern accents. I felt rather well rooted in Baton Rouge when I again received a call from headquarters. Another opportunity presented itself, and I was heading to company headquarters in Racine, Wisc.
As I quickly started to invest into my new Wisconsin environment, I also learned that God had a plan. Shortly after my arrival at our Wisconsin headquarters, I entered the office elevator on the fourth floor, and before I made it to the ground floor, I had met my wife. I was almost immediately blessed with an amazing woman with whom I could share my life. For almost 25 years, I have answered the question about home with the same return question. Home, or “home-home?” Regardless of where I was residing, “home-home” is, and always will be, where my heart is – Kennett, Mo.
Two years ago, we were blessed with our first child, Graham. Prior to his arrival, I thought I had already experienced the ultimate feeling of love. But, I quickly found myself in new territory. The amplified feelings quickly translated into a desire to find a way “home-home.” An opportunity soon presented itself. Jake Fisher, a sweet and dedicated man, retired after 50 years with the Delta Research Center in Portageville, Mo. During his tenure, he worked hard to elevate the staff, farm and the research to a very respected and professional level. After a few months of interviewing, we were making plans to return “home-home.”
My predecessor at the research center handed me a stable and fruitful environment. The research the team performs at the newly renamed Fisher Delta Research Center, on rice, cotton, beans, corn, wheat, milo, irrigation, entomology, plant pathology and weed science, is all top notch. The Center is here to better feed and clothe the world, ensure agricultural producers’ profitability and optimally manage our agricultural resources.
Like Memphis and every other place I have called home, I look forward to investing in my community. I am elated to be involved and contributing towards making my beloved “home-home” a special place to many.
– Trent Haggard, Kennett, Mo.