Lynda and Danny Medcalf helped out their elderly neighbor and ended up inheriting a farm. Submitted Photo.
Lynda and Danny Medcalf helped out their elderly neighbor and ended up inheriting a farm. Submitted Photo.

Danny and Lynda Medcalf inherited a farm and a way of life 

REPUBLIC, MO. – Lynda and Danny Medcalf of Republic, Mo., said their Fly N’ Farms it’s a typical first-generation farm, and they aren’t the typical first-generation farmers. 

The Medcalfs were newly married and in their 50s when they became first-generation farmers, with a large farm left to them by their neighbor. In his later years, Ernie Rasmussen couldn’t take care of his operation like he once did, and the Medcalfs were there to help. He left Lynda and Danny the farm, cow/calf operation, a chance to retire and a lasting legacy in their family.

Danny and Lynda both grew up in Southwest Missouri and met in their teen years. Both went their own ways in life, as Danny served in the Navy in the Vietnam War and Lynda raised two boys in Mount Vernon, Mo. Their paths crossed again over 30 years later, and they rekindled their relationship. 

In June 1989, Danny and Lynda were married and bought their first house together down a long gravel driveway with plenty of hayfield on each side. The long stretch of field would serve as Danny’s runway for his Cessna 182 airplane. After serving in the Navy, Danny took on flying as a hobby, and he hand-built his own airplane in the hangar on their land. 

“She wanted to be in the woods, I wanted a hangar and flat land for flying, which is exactly how we ended up in the Ozarks,” Danny said. 

Three minutes down the road from “Medcalf Field Airport,” lived Ernie, who was around 80 at the time of their introduction. He owned 80 acres and 14 cows and needed help with tasks around the farm. The Medcalfs were eager to help.

As the years went by, the Medcalfs took on more than just tasks around the farm; they began to help care of Ernie. They made sure he was comfortable and taken care of in his home, then helped him during his transition to assisted-living. They also took on all the responsibilities of Ernie’s farm.

“We helped with the farm for 12 years as his neighbor, and when he passed away in 2000, he gave the farm to us rather than his family,” Lynda explained. 

Like most first-generation farmers, the Medcalfs had a lot to learn.

“Since this was our first time with a farm and a herd that depended on us, we went by Ernie’s example and ultimately flew by the seat of our pants,” Lynda said. “We were lucky to have learned some things from our parents and other producers we met in the area.”

Other producers in the area include members of the Greene County Cattlemen’s Association, where the Medcalfs volunteer many hours to help expand the group and raise money for agricultural-student scholarships or other farmers in need. 

While they give credit to those who helped them along the way, they did a lot of hands-on work, learning how to vaccinate their herd, when to wean and how to castrate. 

The first few years of owning the farm the Medcalfs worked normal 9-to-5 jobs in the city, then rushed home afterwards to work on the farm and do their chores while there was still daylight. Finally, they were able to retire and take on farming full-time. 

“Even though we retired, we never really retired,” Lynda said with a laugh. “We kind of went from full-time work to full-time farming, but it is so much better. Now, we have more freedom to spend more time on the farm and on the pasture to look at our animals, which if you know me, is my favorite thing to do.”

Also, during the start of their cow/calf operation, their six grandkids were being born and growing up, and the farm provided a perfect solution to having the freedom to spend as much time with them as possible. 

“The freedom to be able to get up in the morning and make my own choices of what I want to do and when I want to do it, is the greatest feeling,” said Lynda.

For their grandkids, the farm provided so many life lessons other than just hard work and determination – it taught them about always putting family and friends first, and leaving behind a legacy of generosity and kindness, just like Ernie and the Medcalfs did for each other. 

Danny Medcalf of Republic, Missouri checking on his herd. Submitted Photo.
Submitted Photo

What was initially 14 cows in Rasmussen’s Brangus herd is now more than 70 cows, two bulls and nearly two times the amount of acreage all because of the Medcalfs. 

The original herd was Angus, but the couple transformed to Brangus after learning the breed may offer some resistance some ailments, and have few problems with pinkeye. 

Danny and Lynda sell a number of calves as replacement animals, but the majority of the farm income is from the sale of feeder calves. Lynda continues to expand the herd’s genetics. All breeding is done through natural breeding program. 

Farm improvements include fencing improvements to separate pastures to allow for pasture rotation. 

The couple became involved in agriculture after helping Ernie, and they are now helping their new neighbors, Danielle and Josh Rogers, first-generation farmers who operate a 100-acre berry farm and you-pick business. The Medcalfs helped plant seeds, build a shop, ran the cash register, and even fed and took care of the couples’ two young kids while Danielle and Josh worked long days. 

Because of the Medcalfs help, the Rogers decided to name their driveway that shares a fence with Fly N’ Farms, “Lynda Lane.” 

The Medcalfs have made an impact on the Ozarks and their family, and will leave a lasting legacy with Fly N’ Farms. 

“How do I even describe what the farm has brought us?” Danny said. 

“The Ozarks bring me peace of mind and all the happiness in my life,” Lynda says as began to cry. “The rule of life in being close to the land is that there is nothing better – genuinely nothing better. The farm is my soul, peace of mind, sanity and so much more.”

For the future of Fly N’ Farms, the Medcalfs want to continue to watch their herd grow and their improve their Brangus bloodlines, and enjoy life on the farm. 

“We moved out here to have a hanger and an airplane and ended up with a bunch of land and a big ole’ herd of cattle,” Danny said.


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