Production Blog

New Views From Idaho and Kentucky Farmers

Pamela Smith
By  Pamela Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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This year's View From the Cab farmers will report in from Idaho and Kentucky throughout the growing season. (Lakey photo courtesy of Dan Lakey; Pottinger photo by Leah Pottinger)

Get ready to widen your view of farming. This year DTN's View From the Cab series heads to Idaho and Kentucky to provide perspectives from two very different growing regions.

Contributors this year will be Quint and Leah Pottinger, of New Haven, Kentucky, and Dan and Marie Lakey, of Soda Springs, Idaho.

This represents the 20th year that the View From the Cab feature has followed farmers throughout the growing season in a diary-like fashion. It only seems fitting that Idaho makes the 20th state to be represented in the ongoing series. It's been more than a decade since a farmer from Kentucky has contributed.

This year's volunteers promise to bring a wide diversity of growing conditions, crops and opinions about agriculture into focus.

Visit Lakey Farms this time of year and you'll likely still find snow on the ground. Farming at 6000 feet elevation in the southeastern portion of Idaho, the Caribou Mountains are a scenic backdrop for operations. A third-generation farmer, Dan made a deliberate decision to return to his farming roots in 2009. He farms with his brother, David.

Fallowing dryland acres was once standard here, but conservation techniques has allowed Lakey to move to annual cropping. Get out your grocery list because the variety of grains planted is large. Winter and spring wheat in just about every class (soft, hard, red and white) is a mainstay and the farm has a special direct relationship with a small milling company. Malt barley, forage barley, feed barley, brown and yellow mustard, oriental mustard, spring and winter canola, flax, yellow and green peas, and triticale are all in the crop lineup.

Slightly more than 1600 miles to the east, Quint and Leah Pottinger's Affinity Farms sits in northcentral Kentucky about 50 miles south of Louisville. The season has already kicked into gear in this season where the couple grows wheat, rye and non-GMO corn and soybeans. The latest enterprise is flowers, which is Leah's project.

The Pottinger name and legacy to farming in this area date back to 1788 -- years before a young Abraham Lincoln and his family moved to a farm only a few miles away in 1811. But the story of how each Pottinger generation is required to buy into the farm brings a unique twist to the topic of transfer and succession.

Quint and Leah began their own farming journey in 2012. In 2017, they merged their operations with his father, Ramey, and have used outside investors to fund expansion.

Today, local and value-added opportunities are their watchwords. Wheat, corn and rye mostly finds a home with nearby bourbon distillers. Most of the soybeans are funneled to a biodiesel facility at Owensboro, Kentucky.

These are farmers with strong opinions about markets, conservation, community involvement, financing and farm growth that will offer readers fresh views throughout the 2024 season. Buckle up for a fun ride as they report in each week, starting with more in-depth profiles beginning in early May.

Pamela Smith can be reached at

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