Hometown: Meadville, MO
Farming Since: 2000
Marc Zell lives on a diversified, row crop and cattle operation in north central Missouri with his four sons and wife, Brooke. In his own words, Marc has been farming since the beginning of time, or at least before he could remember. However, he raised his first crop in 2000. Marc’s involvement in agriculture doesn’t end on the farm. He also serves on the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a fourth-generation farmer in north central Missouri. I am married to my wife, Brooke, we have four boys. I attended college in Trenton and then transferred to Northwest Missouri State University, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agronomy. I enjoy farming, fishing, hunting and spending time with the boys.
Tell us a little about your farm.
I farm with my uncle and mother on our family operation. We raise corn, soybeans and wheat. I also run about 70 head of momma cows and calves comprised of mostly red Angus. In the summer, I bale about 500 bales of hay to keep the cows happy.
Tell us about your involvement in agriculture.
Whether it was helping grandma fix lunch when I was little, to driving grain trucks or tractors back from the field when I got older, I remember I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to join FFA. I learned so much through all of the program’s which you can be involved in. My wife and I have served on the county Farm Bureau board and are involved in the Missouri Young Farmer and Rancher program. I hope to continue learning and meeting new people through my role on the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.
I have been farming for as long as I can remember. I’ve ridden countless hours on the fender of a 4020, sitting in the window of my grandpa’s tractor, or in the floorboard of a combine observing everything that was going on. It’s hard to pick just one memory from the last 39 years.”
Should tractors be red or green?
While we run mainly green tractors, I’m becoming less prejudice the older I get. They should be functional and affordable.
What is your favorite planting or harvest snack?
I’m a big fan of Little Debbie. If she makes it, it’s good! Also, I love a 100 Grand and Snickers.
What are you listening to while working?
I usually listen to KRES radio.
To me, there’s no truer occupation you could be involved in. It’s part of your responsibility to take care of the ground you grew up on and leave it better than you found it. To me, it’s just the right way to live. Every morning, you have a job to do and it’s feeding the world and it’s a job that must be done right.”
Who is your biggest influence?
I would have to say my grandpa, dad and uncle. I have learned so much from them over the years, and they have given me many of the opportunities that I have been afforded. Although my grandfather and father have passed, I have still used their knowledge and wisdom that they passed down every day.
Do you incorporate any sustainable practices on your farm?
We have started using cover crops pretty extensively over the past few years. They have helped improve the soil by minimizing erosion, suppressing weed pressure, and scavenging for nutrients that can later be used by the grain crop. We have also built several miles of terraces on our farms to help stop erosion. We build mostly all broad base terraces so they can still be farmed.