From a young age, Marty Williams knew he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a farmer when he grew up. He began making his dream a reality when he was 17 years old. Today, he and his wife, Crystal, own a large, diverse farm in Red Rock, where they raise wheat, corn, grain sorghum, canola, soybeans, barley and cattle.
“I always enjoyed working with the equipment on my father’s farm,” Marty says. “I also enjoyed cattle, and I really loved Mother Nature and the outdoors. When I went to college at Oklahoma State University (OSU), I found a new love and passion for making farms better to pass on to the next generation. When I came back from college, my goal was very clear. I wanted to conserve the soil. I wanted to make a difference and an impact in Noble County.”
Farm and Family Growth
At age 17, Marty rented his first farm and raised wheat and cattle. He used his father’s equipment in exchange for labor, and he continued to work on the farm while in college. After graduating with a degree in agronomy, Marty returned to Red Rock with Crystal, whom he met at OSU, and began growing his operation. In 2005, he adopted a no-till farming approach and started diversifying his crops, and he also purchased his own equipment.
“We just struck out on our own and have grown from there,” Marty says. “I currently own about 25 percent of what I farm, and I rent the rest. In order to take care of the soil, we rotate our crops. We try to never plant two of the same crops on the same piece of land consecutively.”
As the farm has grown and prospered, so has the Williams family. Marty and Crystal have a daughter, 8-year-old Ava, and son, 4-year-old Morgan. Both children are homeschooled by Crystal, who has an education degree from OSU.
“We decided to homeschool the kids so they could be more involved in the operation,” Crystal says.
“When they were little and I was teaching full time, we had to have childcare. We were all going in different directions – we just didn’t see much of each other. Now we can all be involved on the farm.”
Although Crystal helps out on the farm when time allows, there are two to three employees regularly working on the farm. Marty says he and his employees typically focus on taking care of livestock in the wintertime, but during warm-weather months, they’re primarily busy with planting seed, harvesting crops and repairing equipment.
Current Success and Future Plans
In 2014, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau recognized the hard work of the Williams family and awarded Marty and Crystal with the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award.
“That award is pretty special to us,” Marty says. “It recognizes the amount of work and effort you put into your farm and ranch, as well as the quality of your work. It also recognizes your community involvement – the amount of time you spend helping others.”
Looking toward the future, Marty says he wants to grow his land ownership and eventually reduce the amount of farmland he rents. He also plans to continue diversifying his crops and possibly ship his products directly to consumers. In addition, he wants to add more grain storage facilities to his operation, which would make it more feasible to ship wheat directly to bread mills.
“It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve learned what it takes to be a businessman, as well as a farmer,” Marty says.