McCauley Looks Back on His Career

“Looking back on my life I can truly say that I have always wanted to be a farmer,” said Ken McCauley. “That dream came true in 1965 when my brother and I started farming 160 acres that my mother owned. I was 16, and he was 14, but we soon found out we needed more than land. Dad was always good to let us use our own ideas but was always there when we needed him. One thing he taught us very early on is, ‘You have to know what your expenses are so you have to pay harvest and fuel.’  That was such a good lesson even today as our son takes over our operation. 

“My wife, Mary, and I were married in 1972; and we moved to my great-grandfather’s farm where he had built his house, which is 20 miles from where I grew up. We have been extremely fortunate and thankful for this as it opened so many doors in our young lives in a new neighborhood. We raised two children here, Traci Biesemeyer and Brad McCauley, and they have blessed us with seven grandchildren. Traci is a grain merchandiser for ADM in Kansas City, and Brad farms with us and lives close to us here on the farm (White Cloud, Kansas). 

“Mary and I officially started farming on our own in 1991 when my dad retired, and my brothers and I each started farming on our own. Mary quit her job, and we did it all for several years, which really enriched our lives (stressful at times but still rewarding). 1995 brought an opportunity to get involved in the Kansas Corn Commission and that has continued through today, 25 years later. 

“I credit Kansas and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) for my relationship with the NAFB and the farm broadcasters who have welcomed me and become such good friends over the years. Being elected to President of NCGA strengthened my relationship with NAFB, showing me just how important farm broadcasters are to farmers and their messages. As communication became more important to farmers, NAFB members (as usual) rose to the occasion and helped farmers get their messages out, to not just farmers but consumers, as well.

“Being appointed to the NAFB Foundation has been very rewarding. To be able to see how NAFB members support educating future farm broadcasters and ag-media students through foundation scholarships, internships, and awards is fantastic. Support not only from NAFB members but from all of agriculture’s supporting industries has boosted the Foundation’s ability to help more students gain experience and help with their college expenses. The NAFB Foundation has given me a view into another area of agriculture that is much needed and helped me in my transition into retirement from farming.

“Our son, Brad, has been on the farm since 2001 and has been growing his own farm plus taking over our rented land and making most of the decisions the past several years. Next year, he will take over our entire operation, and I will become a landlord for the first time in my life.

“This is an exciting time for Mary and me, watching our son take over the farm. We still live in the house my great-grandfather built 100 years ago and plan to stay here hoping someone in our next generation will want to live here in our farm home. I feel extremely grateful and fortunate for the things I have been blessed with during my life. As I look back, it is interesting that some of the things that I thought were bad actually turned out to be pretty good! We will have to see how the COVID experience plays out, but it definitely has not been good for some. Thanks to my family, friends, and everyone who has supported and been here for me to get me to where I am today; I truly appreciate you all.”