John Compton had pretty much written off a career in farming, despite having grown up on his father’s rice operation near Jennings, La. But after earning an advanced degree in environmental science and embarking on a career in compliance permitting for the Louisiana oil industry, he began to wonder – was farming still in his blood?

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One fall afternoon in 2010, after a day of harvesting on the Compton family farm, he got the chance to find out. That evening, Compton’s uncle, who farmed in partnership with Compton’s father, Tom, told his brother he planned to retire. Later, the younger Compton, who was helping the farm gather the harvest that fall, went to his father about getting back into farming full-time. They worked out an agreement for two separate operations, with separate equipment, but with father and son working them as one team.

To get started, Compton took advantage of the Farm Service Agency’s Beginning Farmer & Rancher Loan Program to finance the 2011 crop and used perks for young and beginning farmers through USDA’s EQIP program to implement several conservation practices on his farm.

The last four crop years have been fast and furious for Compton, but there have been few regrets. He’s grown his operation from 450 acres to 750 acres and added 250 acres of crawfish.