Sam Halcomb grew up working on his family’s grain and hog operation in south central Kentucky during the '80s and '90s. Upon graduation from high school, he attended Caterpillar’s dealer service technician training program and worked as a technician for Whayne Supply Co., the Caterpillar dealer covering Kentucky and southern Indiana.
In 2001, Sam continued his education by enrolling in the diesel technology program at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan. He graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in diesel and heavy equipment technology and a minor in business administration.
That fall, he accepted a full-time position with Caterpillar Inc. and entered their marketing training program in Peoria, Ill. After holding trainee positions with the excavator manufacturing division in Aurora, Ill., and the Latin America marketing division in Miami, Fla., Sam worked out of the Monterrey, Mexico, district office as a heavy construction service representative.
From the summer of 2007 until the spring of 2010, Sam and his wife, Stephanie, lived in Monterrey, Mexico, where she also worked for Caterpillar. Sam was the service representative, covering large contractors throughout Mexico, and Stephanie worked in supply chain management at Caterpillar’s fabrication plant in Monterrey.
By this time, Sam’s love of the family farm began calling him home. He resigned from Caterpillar, and they left Mexico in March of 2010. A few months later, he and Stephanie welcomed their first child, William Everett, to the family, and Sam now works full time for the family farming operation near Adairville, Ky.
Walnut Grove Farms is a family farming operation based in the community of Schochoh, Ky., located 50 miles north of Nashville, Tenn. The farm is currently managed by the fifth and sixth generations of the Halcomb family and produces corn, soybeans, wheat and barley. Schochoh Mills is an integral part of the business, serving local hog and dairy operations and consuming more than half of Walnut Grove’s corn crop. The majority of the soybean crop is delivered to Owensboro, Ky., and crushed for vegetable oil and soybean meal, some of which is also consumed by Schochoh Mills. The wheat crop is delivered to Siemer Milling Co. in Hopkinsville, Ky., and used primarily for cracker, cake and biscuit flour.
South central Kentucky soils are primarily silty clay loams with two to six percent slopes. 50” of annual rainfall is typical, but two percent organic matter and hot, dry summers make moisture a concern. A key focus of Walnut Grove Farms is increasing competitiveness through improved agronomic practices and effective utilization of precision ag technologies. To this end, Walnut Grove has implemented zone soil sampling, variable-rate seeding, variable-rate P&K application, as well as variable-rate liquid nitrogen application on wheat. These technologies, combined with conservation efforts such as continuous no-till and cover crops, are improving fertility, increasing water holding capacity and helping control input costs.
Always on the lookout for new cropping opportunities, Walnut Grove partnered with Mendel BioEnergy Seeds in 2009 to develop a research station in Schochoh focused on yield and variety trials for an energy grass called Miscanthus. This collaboration has given Walnut Grove firsthand experience in perennial energy crop management.
Above all, Walnut Grove Farms strives to be honest and fair with its employees and suppliers while providing excellent service to its customers. With the increasing competitiveness of production agriculture, innovative farming practices must be coupled with superb customer service, and Walnut Grove is fortunate to have a strong team mindful of both.