The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


March 16, 2013

Farming is all Castles have known ... all of their lives

ENID, Okla. — JET — There are three generations on the Castle family farm north of Jet, and some of the land has been in the family more than 100 years.

Richard and Ceceila Castle have been on the farm since 1960, when they married shortly after they graduated from Oklahoma State University. Castle’s father farmed the land, and Richard started farming when he graduated.

The family recently was named the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Family of the Year.

“I got an engineering degree, but I always knew I would be farming,” Castle said.

Currently they farm 6,000 acres of mostly wheat and pasture for cattle, with some land dedicated to alfalfa and milo.

Richard said he doesn’t think the stress is more than when he started, although drought has had its effects. They run half as many cattle as they used to, and he admits they were lucky enough to plant wheat and have a good stand. They only received about seven-tenths of an inch on this last crop before the Feb. 25 snowstorm, which brought about a foot of snow.

“It helped a lot,” he said.

His wheat this year is not tall, but it looks good, he said. Castle always has been optimistic and said he has an optimistic nature, which he got from his father.

“My father was that way, and it kinda rubbed off on me,” Castle said.

Farming is the only thing Castle wanted to do, and that is something that rubbed off on his children and theirs. His son farms, and his grandson started upon college graduation last May. Castle encouraged his grandson to farm, and he is now with them full time.

“It was the way I was. I was raised on the farm. All we’ve ever done is worked on the farm. I never had an outside job,” Castle said.

The family homeplace is just more than two miles west of Jet. It still is in the family, and friends or relatives use it occasionally. His parents lived there until they died. They purchased the place in the 1930s.

Castle has 170 cows with calves and normally about 2,000 stockers on wheat. Due to the drought, he has cut the number of stockers down to about 1,000. He said he is fortunate to have had very little problem with disease. He once purchased cattle from a number of different producers, but now buys from ranches in the eastern part of the state where the health is very good, he said.

One thing Castle said is tougher these days is the capital cost of starting a farm.

That amount is much higher than it was in 1960 when he started. The increase in the value of land makes it difficult for young farmers who are just starting.

“It would be very hard if starting out as a young farmer because of the amount of money needed to purchase land. It’s almost prohibitive unless you have a good base to start out with,” Castle said.

All land he farms is family owned. Richard and his brother once farmed together, but his brother retired and Richard rents his part. There is a small area of the farm partly owned by his brother and sister and he rents from them also. He raises mostly wheat, although he rotates some to clean up the yields. With a lot of discussion about a canola plant coming to Enid in the future Castle said it might be interesting to raise canola in the future. But that decision he will leave up to his son.

“It’s a good deal. It’s a good alternate crop, you can use it to clean up fields. A crop that grows in the winter is better than one that grows in the summer,” Castle said.

Over the long term the wheat success rate is better than milo, for example. He believes  wheat is a lot surer crop than one raised in summer. The northwest Oklahoma area has a tendency toward hot, dry winds in the summer that hurt summer crops a lot, he said.

“Wheat is normally already laid before you get into that hot, dry weather,” Castle said.

Overall, farming has been a very good life for Richard and Ceceila Castle.

“I don’t work that many hours anymore, but it used to be awful long hours every day except Sunday,” Castle said.

Text Only
  • Danna Zook cutout web.jpg Producers need to consider cow supplements

    Springtime for many Oklahoma producers often means calving time.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Master Gardener logocmyk.jpg It’s time to dirty hands

    Bees are venturing out to visit the new flowers. Keep a close watch on your garden. Often, helpful pest-destroying insects are out, getting ready to work for you, also. These, and the bees helpfully pollinating flowers, shouldn’t be discouraged by the undiscriminating spraying of insecticides.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - 4H web.jpg 4-H’ers meet with state lawmakers

    Sen. Eddie Fields spoke to the group upon their arrival at the Capitol.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canola tour to have stops in area

    The tour will be held at the canola field of Flying G Farms located 91⁄2 miles west of Orienta on U.S. 412 and then north into the field.

    April 12, 2014

  • farm - Rick Nelson web.jpg Money up front can mean bigger returns later

    Implants are a safe, effective technology that typically offer a 10-to-1 return on investment.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFA logo.jpg 9 area students to receive WLC program scholarships

    FFA members will tour our nation’s capital, visit with members of Congress and perform a service learning project within the Washington area, while building friendships with fellow FFA members from across the nation.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFA logo.jpg NW Oklahoma FFA members named proficiency finalists

    Three finalists are selected in each of 49 agricultural proficiency award categories. The state winner in each area will be announced April 30 during the 88th State FFA Convention held at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWDJLS_Swine_8_BV.jpg Today’s 4-H creating blue ribbon kids

    The constant that 4-H has is that we give kids an opportunity to excel in a niche that they can kind of create for themselves.” — Jim Rhodes, 4-H youth development program specialist for Northwest District

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Rick Nelson web.jpg Managing cowherd fertility is important

    Yet, recent survey data suggest only 18 percent of beef-cow operations in the United States evaluate the cowherd for pregnancy. This is unfortunate, since a large portion of the financial losses attributed to infertility in beef cows is attributed to maintaining open cows.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Master Gardener logocmyk.jpg Gardening workshop is April 12

    Dee Nash, a native of Oklahoma, will be the key note speaker. She will speak on “Lemonade Gardening: Making the Best of Extreme Conditions or Lemonade out of Lemons.”

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads