Chad Haden, a Leader on a Mission

chad hadenChad Haden of Clay Center, Kansas, has been around agriculture and farming since he was young. Haden attended Southeast Community College in Milford, Nebraska, after high school to be a part of the Diesel - Ag Equipment Service Tech program. Though he became certified as a John Deere diesel mechanic, his true passion was farming.

“After getting certified, I came back home to work at a local John Deere dealership as a diesel ag mechanic,” Haden said. “After working there for several years, I am now working for a large family farm in the Clay Center area. I am also working, along with my brother, on our own farm.”

Though their dad left the farming business when they were young, Haden and his brother still have a passion for farming and running their cattle operation they started in high school.

“We started slowly,” Haden said. “During high school we bought a few feeder steers and fed them out. Then we bought a combine and did custom work for a few of our neighbors.”

With the large amount of cattle operations around the Clay Center area, Haden has seen demand for sorghum as a livestock feed firsthand. Using sorghum as a rotation crop in their upland farmland enables them to meet the demands of feedlots.

“We farm the upland area so we have those hot, dry growing seasons,” Haden said. “Sorghum utilizes the rainfall and moisture we get really well and still produces what we need.”

Though his love for farming is strong, another one of Haden’s passions is mission work. Haden found his calling after going on a several-week-long mission trips to Uganda, Africa.

“I loved it so much that I went back a half a year later and lived in Uganda for four months doing trade and mission work,” Haden said. “I like to think I made an impact and improved their lives.”

With his passion for not only agriculture but also leadership, Haden is glad to be a part of the Leadership Sorghum program. Haden is using his Leadership Sorghum experience to network and gain professional development to use not only on his family farm, but to carry over into his mission work and other life passions.

Equipment Color: John Deere Green
Tractor Tunes: Royals games, AM talk shows, and Red Dirt music
Favorite Season on the Farm: Harvest because it's like the finale of the year and everything starts to wind down
Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, including his wife Melissa, reading and going on mission trips

Chad is a member of Leadership Sorghum Class III, a program designed to foster the next generation of sorghum leaders. The program exposes members to various aspects of the sorghum industry from basic and applied research to international marketing. Through both hands-on and classroom-style education, participants gain an understanding of how sorghum moves through the value chain, how checkoffs and interest organizations interact on behalf of the industry and what the future holds for the crop. The program also provides professional development training and networking opportunities.