Myles McDermott began farming

Myles McDermott began farming several years ago with his parents and now owns some ground and cows. McDermott farms near Anita, Iowa, in Cass County.

ANITA, Iowa — A fading sun illuminates the horizon as Myles McDermott watches his cows munch on rapidly growing grass.

“You can’t beat this,” he says. “You see this and the stress just goes away. I love it here.”

McDermott, 31, came home to farm about nine years ago. He farms with his parents, Mike and Melanie McDermott. They grow corn and beans and also operate a commercial cow herd in Cass County, Iowa.

He also works at the Elite Octane ethanol plant near Atlantic.

“I’ve always had to work off the farm,” he says.

McDermott owns 50 cows and has some of his own farm ground.

“I have grown when the opportunity is there,” he says. “It’s been pretty steady.”

He came back to the Southwest Iowa farm after finishing college.

“I started working for a neighbor and helped Dad in my free time,” McDermott says. “I started renting farm ground on my own, then I was able to buy my farm and we’ve been growing ever since.”

Working on the farm can be a challenge. McDermott works four days and then has four days off at the ethanol plant, and alternates between working days and nights on a monthly basis.

Doing chores after dusk is not unusual, he says.

“I was always taught if you wanted something badly enough, you had to work for it,” McDermott says. “I’ve never been afraid of work, and that is going to help me reach the goals I have.”

McDermott is also involved with the Cass County Cattlemen, and currently serves as president.

He rents most of his crop ground and pasture, and while McDermott would like to own more ground, he is willing to wait.

“I’d like to pay off the first farm before buying another, but I do love the fact that I am able to call that farm my own,” McDermott says. “I’m loving every second of this. I know this is what I’m meant to do.”

Although he enjoyed growing up on a farm, McDermott says he did not see his life taking that path.

“My mom really wanted us to experience life away from the farm, and I did that, but I felt the pull to come back,” he says. “Dad was at the point where he was wanting some help, so we were able to work it out.”

Jeff DeYoung is livestock editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.