What do young farmers need to know?

I’ve just finished my junior year of college and I’m only two semesters away from the “real world.”

Aaron and I are planning a wedding, starting to remodel our house and looking to the future more than ever.

I’m still chasing my dream of telling farmers stories through freelance journalism.

Beyond just writing, I’m putting more time into my photography and expanding my web design skills. I’m trying to find a way to serve the average farmer, the commodity group and the non-ag client.

I’m approaching this as a business now, not just a hobby. I’m dedicated to making it a career.

More than anything, Aaron and I are determined to start our own beef cattle and show pig farm.

We know that young farm families face a lot of challenges.

We know we’ve got a rough path ahead of us because the only capital we have going into this is our passion for animal agriculture and faith in ourselves. We know that it will take years of hard work to get there.

We’re beginning a new chapter in our lives and we’re asking for any advice you have to offer.

If you could do it again, take things back to when you started your farm or business, what would you do differently?

What should young farmers know about the business they’re getting into?

How do we create a profitable business that we can pass on to the next generation?

About Celeste

Celeste grew up on a family beef cattle and show pig farm in Western Kentucky. In addition to farming and life as a restaurant wife, Celeste owns Celeste Communications where she works as a photographer, graphic designer, videographer and consultant. This blog is Celeste's personal soapbox. Any ranting or raving is her own and does not reflect the opinions of any of her clients. All photos and posts are copyrighted property of Celeste Communications.

Comments

What do young farmers need to know? — 6 Comments

  1. Money is a huge thing – without it purchasing land is tough and paying banks you may never get ahead as well as being on the line to markets.

    Don’t forget the business end. Went to a great ag program many moons ago but hindsight often wished there was more business classes. Agriculture is different from many businesses and often the business end isn’t fun. It’s far too easy to shove receipts in an envelope and go play with young stock or check the gardens or even plan breedings – but the promotion, dealing with customers etc is important.

    Don’t overlook “outside the box” thinking. You don’t have to do things like everyone else, but if you have a niche you need to market more. There’s more effort – and more reward – doing that than just hauling to the local sale barn. An example is Dickinson Cattle Company (easily found online) – they stuck with longhorns as the market wants black hides. They couldn’t rely on conventional because horns are docked. So they went bigger – breed those big horns and beefy longhorns. Sell the hides, taxidermied mounts, beef, breeding stock, and some more ‘unusual’ things as well – western decor. More effort – absolutely!!

    Along with that know when to designate. Know your strengths & weaknesses – designate people who balance that. If your weakness is accounting, find someone with accounting talent and designate!
    Have a team. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2239797/5_professionals_farmers_need_on_their.html?cat=3 You may seldom need them but when you do you REALLY need them (how badly does the Ohio dairy farm need publicity/positive PR right now?! as do all dairies & farms activists link as the same!)

    Just a few things!

  2. My husband and I are still considered young farmers, but after four years of marriage, two kids and officially joining the partnership in 2006, I have some words of advice.

    No matter what, your relationship with your spouse and your family is number one. Yes, chores, weather, field work etc will most often come first, but still take time each day to connect. Daily, do simple things to show you care to help when the stress gets high. I will text my husband love messages, write notes in his field lunches, etc.

    Make sure to have goals and make sure all your decisions reflect those goals. You don’t have to do everything or be everything.

    If you do end up working with family, make sure it is official. Have contracts, employee evals, etc.

    Most importantly work with a farm business management official. Our state offers them through the MN State Colleges. They are great help when making financial and management decisions.

    Good luck and blessings to you Aaron.

  3. I think you both already know about the work that you are getting into…it is a strength and a weakness! It is important to go into the relationship and the business with a plan: how you spend your first year will define the rest of your life!

    Working with livestock with your spouse can be very rewarding, and very frustrating. Keep a sense of humor and an ability to relax. If you get too caught up in the “job” of farming, you can forget the “career” of it, and the “lifestyle” becomes one you don’t want to have. So enjoy each season, spend time one on one with your spouse and keep talking with each other.

    Beginning your life together can be such an exciting trip! We are celebrating our 21st year together and instead of dinner at a restaurant, we baled alfalfa hay. Not the most romantic–but we were together!

    Good luck and may you always be this close to each other!

  4. I don’t know much, I’ve never been married, but here’s what I have to say.

    Don’t say it’s ok and then go to sleep mad.
    Don’t act like the other doesn’t know how to drive.
    Patience is a virtue best shared with a spouse.
    And remember, love’s a verb.

  5. Thank you all for your heartfelt comments. It means a lot to Aaron and I as well as the many other young farmers who read this blog.

  6. Mom say’s you better learn to think like a sow! It worked for them once she learned 28 years ago.. haha

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