Meet Arizona Agriculture's Caywood Family
By Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm Bureau: This fourth-generation Arizona farm family encourages the next generation to be involved in decision-making today to better prepare them for the future. With
An interview with Nancy Caywood- Robertson of Caywood Farms
Our ongoing series profiling Arizona Farm Bureau’s farm and ranch families
Tell us about your farm:We are a fourth-generation farm. My grandfather purchased the land (247 acres) at 11-mile corner in Pinal County around 1930. My father, Tommy Caywood, grew up on the farm, graduated from Casa Grande Union High School in 1940 and then continued his education at the University of Arizona in Tucson (he was in the Aggie House). He never finished because WWII broke out and he went into the Navy serving on the USS Cimmaron, a Naval Tanker stationed in the South Pacific. After returning to Casa Grande, he purchased land near Stanfield and soon married Sammie Darr Caywood (in 1948) where they farmed until 1980. After selling the farm in Stanfield, they farmed the 11-mile corner place.
My son, Travis Hartman, began farming alongside my parents around 1995. Travis also became a Firefighter, Paramedic and is Captain for his shift at the Eloy Fire Department. I (Nancy Caywood-Robertson) worked for the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center in El Centro, California where I started the FARM SMART Program in 2001, an agricultural literacy program. On February 13, 2014, that program reached 100,000 attendees. I retired officially from the University of California in June 2013 but returned for the Winter Visitor Program in 2014. In 2011, our family decided to add Farm Tours on our family farm. They have been very successful and will hopefully grow. There are no farm tours in the area and many winter visitors spend the winter here and are very curious about cotton. During our tours, visitors watch a PowerPoint presentation on “Cottons Long Journey: From Seed to Fiber,” they check out farm equipment including a cotton picker and module builder (we start them and show how they run), and they go on a hayride around our farm with a stop at the cotton field where they crack open green bolls and harvest some cotton. We conclude the program with door prizes and hand-outs. These tours will hopefully bring more revenue into the family.
Four generations of Caywoods scratching for
Travis and his wife Mandy, have two children. Hannah is nine and Tommy is seven and they will hopefully become the 5th generation to farm Caywood Farms!
What changes have you seen in your lifetime as it relates to farming and? Improvement of equipment makes field work faster. More compliance to new rules and regulations create challenges.
Why did you choose to go into agriculture? My father grew up working on the farm and enjoyed it. After returning from the Navy, it was familiar work and his father helped him and my mom, Sammie, purchase a farm. Travis has also enjoyed farming his entire life and was a member and officer of FFA during his high school years. He wants to continue our family farming tradition.
Plus, I am passionate about agriculture. I taught 1st and 2nd grades and quickly learned kids have no idea that their food and fiber start on a farm! I completed my
The Caywood family: (Left to Right) Travis and Mandy Hartman, Nancy Caywood-Robertson and Alan Robertson, Sammie and Tommy Caywood.
Will anyone in your family – younger generation – pursue farming and/or ranching? We hope that my grandchildren Hannah (age 9) and Tommy (age 7) will become interested in careers relating to agriculture. Hopefully, they will continue farming our family farm. They live on the farm and enjoy working alongside their dad and my dad (their Great Grandfather). Last spring, Travis was repairing some ditches and Hannah and Tommy
Hannah Hartman on the Caywood Farm helping Alan grease the
Would you ever consider growing an emerging crop or changing your farm or ranch model? Yes.
We are also incorporating Agri-Tourism on our family farm. We are hoping additional income from these tours will help pay farming costs.
What are your community activities? Why are you involved?
West Pinal Natural Resource Conservation District-1961 to present, Secretary-Treasurer
Agri-Business Council of Arizona-member, many years
Electrical District #1 in Stanfield,
Casa Grande Industrial Development Authority-1978 – present, Secretary-Treasurer
11-Mile Corner Gin Board-2000 to present – Secretary-Treasurer
Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee-past member
Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District, Secretary-Treasurer (for 19 years)
Captain, Eloy Fire Department
Casa Grande Government Affairs Committee, member
Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame, member
Casa Grande Elementary School District Career Camp Committee, member
Arizona Old-Time Fiddlers Association, member
What is the one fact/experience/achievement no one knows about you?
Makes the best Dutch Oven Biscuits in the world!
Enjoys making golf clubs and putters and donating them to fund-raising events
Was the organizer and first president of the Casa Grande Valley Humane Society.
Restored a 1946 Minneapolis Moline Tractor in FFA in 1999 and it placed 5th in the nation at the National FFA Convention.
Was a state officer in FFA after graduating from Casa Grande Union High School.
Just got selected to be one of fifteen women in the United States to attend the American Farm Bureau Women’s Communications Boot Camp in Washington, D.C.! Also, rode a buffalo in a wild buffalo race at Casa Grande’s O’odham Tash Rodeo.
Retired Navy Pilot and Captain for Southwest Airlines.
What do you think you do really well?
Tom and Sammie Caywood: Stays very focused on current agricultural issues that will directly affect our family farm. Tommy is a “jack of all trades” capable of engineering or modifying an existing part to make anything work or run again.
Travis Hartman: Excellent paramedic,
Nancy Caywood: I know that with my farming, teaching and music background that I can put on farm tours that are meaningful, fun and educational. I also play the fiddle, have won some fiddle contests and have played in several bands.
Alan Robertson: Excellent at woodworking and makes all of our program props.
Why are you a farm bureau member? We are members of farm bureau because we believe in agriculture. Farm Bureau addresses
How will the next generation of farmers have to operate? Water availability is always going to be a challenge. It will be important for the next generation to be involved in decision-making. With
With society being generations removed from the farm and farmers so few, education is key. People can vote on