While in high school, Clayton Locke founded a pasture restoration business

While most high school students are focused on athletics or extracurricular activities, Clayton Locke, a senior at Stockton High School, is spending his time becoming a successful entrepreneur.
At 17, he founded Complete Pasture Restoration. As the name implies, the business provides a pasture restoration service to customers. “I have the equipment to go through a pasture and pull the sprouts, clean the pasture off, and spray it to keep it looking nice,” Clayton explained.
Prior to starting his own business, Clayton did some pasture restoration work for Circle A Ranch.
“Whenever I was working for the ranch, I pulled sprouts with a skid loader, eight hours a day, every day, all summer long,” he said. Pulling sprouts entailed tackling an open field of trees ranging from four to six inches in diameter.
“The biggest problem around here has been hedge and locust trees because they spread like wildfire and they will grow in groups. I find them in an 80-acre bunch and the only reason they are limited to 80 acres is because of fence rows,” Clayton said.
When the ranch’s loader caught on fire, Clayton decided to purchase a skid loader and start his own endeavor.
“I saw the potential,” he said. “I could make something out of this business and I already had a starting point at Circle A.”
He officially launched Complete Pasture Restoration in February 2015 with the guidance of his father, Jason Locke. In the beginning, Clayton owned one skid loader and concentrated on sprout removal.
“Once summer started, I rented two more skid loaders. I soon realized you can buy two loaders for the price you can rent one, so I decided to purchase two skid loaders,” he explained.
It was not long before Clayton was researching opportunities to grow his business. He discovered an avenue to expand his services while visiting the 2015 Ozark Fall Farmfest.
“My dad and I looked at the mulching attachments and the skid loaders and ended up purchasing one of each. The mulching attachment allows me to do more, such as cutting down trees and mowing grass,” he explained.
Clayton wanted to offer a way for his customers to maintain their clean pastures, so he purchased a sprayer and offered custom spraying services.
“I had it in the back of my mind, and then the opportunity to buy the sprayer came about,” he explained.
When Clayton receives a call about custom spraying, he will visit the property and conduct a consultation with the landowner. “I will go out and look at the land and figure out what they are trying to kill, recommend what to use, and let them know how much it will cost,” Clayton explained.
Clayton works closely with his father when it comes to making the final recommendations and chemical purchases.
“I have gained a lot of knowledge from my dad. He is my go-to guy. He has been my mentor and has taught me a lot about the business. None of this would have been possible without him. I am a 17-year-old kid, I don’t know everything,” Clayton said with a smile.
So far he has only sprayed grazing and hay ground during his busy season, which generally starts the end of April and wraps up in September.
“I have sprayed a little over 1,000 acres in one and a half spraying seasons. I have sprayed a lot of ragweed, Croatan, Sericea Lespedeza, hedge and locust trees,” Clayton remarked.
During his junior year of high school, Clayton hired competent employees who could work independently while he was at school.
“I had a lot of help, the most I had at one time was three people and one part-time person. I hired people I could trust. It was a relief to know the people I hired knew what to do and I could trust them to do it and do it right,” Clayton said.
This year, Clayton is part of the Stockton High School Supervised Occupational Experience Program (SOEP), which allows him two additional hours every day to work.
“We try not to do too much on the weekends, usually just maintenance or fixing equipment,” he said.
“I want to be the guy people can call whenever they have a problem. Whenever they need trees cleaned out, pastures cleaned up or anything like that I want to be there to help everybody be as productive as they can on their farm,” Clayton exclaimed.
After graduation, Clayton plans to attend college to pursue a degree in agriculture business. His goal is to continue his pasture restoration business and use his degree to make his operation financially efficient.
Clayton is the son of Jason Locke and Charla Locke. He has a twin brother, Cooper, and two older brothers, Cameron and Connor.
Clayton, Cameron and Jason raise Red Angus and crossbred cattle.


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