Krystal Teel did not come from a farming background. She was not raised on a farm. She had no experience growing the staple Mid-South crops, or any crops for that matter. But she had something powerful. A dream.
Krystal has wanted to be a farmer for as long as she can remember. Not everyone shared Krystal’s enthusiasm, however. She pitched her idea to bank, after bank, after bank without success.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” Krystal said, “I just knew I wanted to be a farmer, so I kept up knocking on doors and finally, someone said yes.”
That someone just happened to be Farm Credit. Krystal found support in Christy Case, who believed in what she was trying to do.
“Krystal came to us about 10 years ago,” Christy said. “She had been to a number of banks and they were struggling to take her seriously, mostly because she was a young female trying to get started in farming on her own without family support or even background in farming.”
Christy further explained that, realizing not everyone has that support system, Farm Credit is dedicated to our Young, Beginning & Small Farmers Program. Krystal was a perfect fit for it, and she has flourished.
After being shocked by the pushback she had received from other lenders, even Krystal was a little surprised at the support at first. But she has taken that support and ran with it, starting that first year with 200 acres, and today farming a little over 1000 acres—half soybeans and half rice, sometimes with a little milo or corn. She works with a supportive partner in Jim Saig, who offers input and insight as she makes important decisions.
Krystal shares that the toughest challenge she faces in the ag industry really has nothing to do with the work itself and everything to do with being a woman. But she has not let that affect her success. In fact, it’s a driving force for her. After all, she has a daughter to model behavior for so quitting is not an option.
Krystal and her daughter Haiven, 13, reside in Jonesboro where Haiven attends Ridgefield Christian Academy and the family attends First United Methodist Church. The two have a shared passion for barrel-racing and are traveling a bit for that before harvest rolls in September.
Krystal’s parting advice? “If you have a dream, just because you come from nothing, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do big things in the world.” Words Krystal lives out every single day.