Much like her father did when he started his own farm a few years ago in Boise City, Megan Trantham saw an opportunity, developed a plan and became a small business owner.
Never mind that she was only in eighth grade at the time.
Megan, whose parents, Brent and Angela Trantham, own a crop farm and part of a large ranch in the Oklahoma Panhandle, recognized the difficulty that her family and neighboring farmers and ranchers had in obtaining livestock feed. Her experience growing up in a farming family and involvement in programs like 4-H and FFA instilled in her a certain know-how.
“It’s really difficult to get feed living in the Panhandle,” says Megan, who is now majoring in agribusiness and agricultural communications at Oklahoma State University. “To put it in perspective, we live an hour and a half from a Wal-Mart.
“I visited with my FFA advisor and she said, ‘If you’re having problems finding feed, why don’t you just start your own business?’ I think I just laughed at her and said, ‘You’re crazy. I’m just an eighth grader. There’s no way I can do that,’ ” Megan adds.
A Good Pursuit
She talked to her father, who had the same reaction. However, when the two started looking harder at the possibility, they realized a business would be a good pursuit.
“I opened Trantham Feeds in eighth grade and wasn’t expecting it to get very big,” Megan says. “I just knew my own animals and those of other livestock exhibitors needed feed, too. At first, it was just for my county and to serve a need by providing a service.”
After advertising was put into place, the business rapidly grew. “Trantham Feeds now goes to five states – Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma,” Megan says. “It grew from there because other people were facing the same issue.”
Hard Work’s Rewards
Megan, who interned one summer for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, gets her gumption from the family pipeline. Her great-great-grandfather, Julius Kohler, homesteaded a large ranch in 1903 just north of the Cimarron River.
Megan’s father, Brent, grew up on the ranch. For years, he helped with the family operation and worked for other farmers in the area. Then, in 2012, Brent ventured into farming and began renting farmland for his own operation. He now grows wheat, corn and milo, while also raising cattle.
“I like being my own boss,” Brent says. “I worked for other people trying to put something together. It’s nice to just get up every day and go to work for yourself while pursuing my passion.
“And I like the farming aspect of it; you get to watch the different crops grow,” he adds. “It’s your hard work that brings the rewards in the end. I don’t have any hired help. What is accomplished is from my family and me. In my opinion, that’s a plus.”
In addition to his daughter, Brent gets help from his wife – a paraprofessional at a nearby school but with summers off – and his teenage son, Paul, who is showing the same enthusiasm for farming that Megan did.
Dad figures Paul is also headed toward an ag career. “Once you get into farming, it’s hard to get it out of you,” Brent says.
Though Brent was a latecomer to smartphones, he says new ag technology is key to his business. He especially points out the pivot track feature he has installed for his miles of sprinklers.
“If something quits or malfunctions, you’re notified,” he says. “It saves a lot of money and time.