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Together is All We Know: The Harrison Family

By Kaylee Hendricks

In Meadow, Texas, the Harrison family farm is more than land—it’s a symbol of their unbreakable bond. Through the years, they have infused every aspect of life with togetherness, whether tending to the land or exploring beyond it. Together is all they know.

Keith Harrison’s passion for agriculture ignited during his upbringing on a farm in southeast Colorado. Later, he moved to his grandparents’ farm in Clovis, New Mexico, where farming remained a major part of his life. He went to college to be a coach. However, when he met his wife and Meadow native, Angie, and they started a family, everything changed. Keith’s dream of becoming a farmer soon overshadowed everything else, and he was given the chance of a lifetime.

Starting Out

“In 1997, friends of mine that I went to church with, Riky and Mitzi Streety, called and offered me a job to work on their farm, and he would help me get started farming. He gave me 40 acres in 1997 and it has grown into what we have now,” Keith said. “Riky gave me the opportunity that I dearly wanted at the time. They truly helped us get started here in Meadow.”

Keith began his career as a farmer thanks to collaboration with other farmers. He said it takes a village, which is why he values experienced farmers in his community.

“Having those friendships with people around you makes a big difference. You can ask questions when things are struggling,” Keith said. “You can go to the older ones, and they can give you answers to help you keep your head up and keep you encouraged.”

Keith wanted to farm because it brings new experiences each year. He believes facing limitations in farming strengthens one’s faith.

“It’s something different every year. I love that smell of dirt. I love that accomplishment of going from one crop to the next and seeing what the year has for you,” Keith said. “It brings me closer to God because I’m having to put my faith in him to get through each and every year because there is only so much you can do.”

A Family Affair

Keith said the best part of farming is doing it with his family. It did not take him long to realize his sons, Tyler and Trenton, had a passion for farming at a young age too. The challenge excited them just like it did Keith, and that is how they have grown into the operation they have today. Keith’s wife, Angie also contributes to their operations by managing the bookkeeping.

“When I first started farming, it was about us trying to get established, but it didn’t take me long until I realized that both of my boys loved it too,” Keith said. “We got to do this together. As they grew into it, my wife and I both decided we must be able to stay in it long enough to help them get started. We’ve grown into what I consider a family farm.”

Tyler and Trenton grew up in a tractor alongside their dad, so farming came naturally to them. Working with family is an everyday experience, but they are excited about the opportunities their parents have given them.

“There’s nothing like it. It gets you going in the morning,” Trenton said. “If you’ve been thinking about something all night long, you get excited to go to work and talk to them about it because you want to hear their opinion about it.” Tyler started farming in 2015 when he was able to pick up some land and help other farmers in the area. Despite facing challenges in his first-year farming, the crop was one of the best ones he has had.

Left to right: Tyler Harrison, Nicole Harrison, Keith Harrison, Angie Harrison, Kendra Doege, Trenton Harrison

“My dad gave me some land of his own to help me get started farming and I was helping another guy on the side and leasing his equipment. My first year was tough but it was the best year I have had since I started farming,” Tyler said. “I had a great crop. We got rain all year. It was a good, blessed year.”

In 2021, Tyler acquired additional land, which enabled him to pass down the original plot of land he began with to help Trenton get started.

“I was very blessed that he was able to help me out in that way. I would not be where I am at today without Tyler and my dad,” Trenton said. “It comes back to the family thing. Dad allows us to use his equipment and does not charge us lease or anything. If we need to borrow it, it is ours. That helped Tyler and I grow more than anything.”

Keith taught his boys everything they know about farming and continues to be a leader in their lives and operations every day.

“He’s taught us pretty much everything. The skill of waking up every day and giving it your best at whatever you do. Whether it’s a good outcome or it’s not, I’ve learned a lot of respect on how to live and how to make decisions in life,” Tyler said. “It’s a lot to learn and he’s helped with a lot of it. He’s always there whenever we need him and my mom. There’s no way we’d be doing what we’re doing right now.”

The life lessons instilled in Tyler and Trenton were important for Keith and Angie when they decided to raise them on a farm.

“There’s a lot of life lessons taught on the farm. The biggest life lesson is it’s not always easy, life is tough, but it can be a glorious thing. If you’re farming it’s a challenge every day,” Keith said. “You’re going to get out of it what you put into it, and I think that’s something that I’ve been able to instill in both my boys. You can’t just quit because things aren’t going your way. You’ve got to adapt, and they have both had to learn the hard way.”

The Harrisons have unquestionably shown their dedication to their family, enduring both good and bad times. While Keith is a key part in his sons’ lives, they also play an important role in his life.

“Times were tough, and we had some hoeing to do. My wife and both my sons, we had to go out and hoe this field. All I heard was complaining and not liking to do it but at the end of the day, we did it all together. It brought us closer together,” Keith said. “The day that my mother passed away, my boys were the ones I saw first, and that happened on that same farm that we were all out hoeing together on. They’re kind of my rock. My family is very important to me. The day I needed them most, they were there.”

Keith remains committed to the family farm he has built with his loved ones. He said having his sons continue his legacy is one of his greatest blessings.

“This family farm has been huge for me. My goals changed when I realized my kids wanted to do this,” Keith said. “My wife and I talk a lot about being able to pass this down to my grandkids.”

Down to Business

Difficult times are a risk in the industry, and the Harrison farm is no exception. Keith said that input costs are steadily increasing, posing a significant challenge to cotton production.

“Financial management is getting harder and harder every year. There’s so much that’s out of the farmer’s control,” Keith said. “Our input costs have gone through the roof and that’s our biggest struggle with cotton right now.”

Outside of his farm, Keith is active in the cotton industry through local and regional co-ops, serving as board president of Meadow Farmers Co-op and on the board of Plains Cotton Growers. He values co-op involvement for real ownership in the process and sees PCCA as a crucial foundation for his farm.

“PCCA gives me stability. I’ve never gotten the lowest price, the checks have always been good, and they allowed me to take a risk,” Keith said. “PCCA has always been there for us and they’re a foundation for us in our operation.”

Looking Forward

Keith has spent his life learning from others, and he is now able to share his experience. The exchange of knowledge among farmers never ends. Keith offers some advice to farmers just starting their careers.

“Have a lot of conversations with God and have faith in what you are doing. Find someone to talk to that you can bounce ideas off and receive encouragement from. Hard-headedness will take you all the way to the poor house,” Keith said. “You cannot continue to do the same old thing and expect a different outcome. You have to be able to adapt, grow, and do not be afraid to ask questions.”