A 12 minute conversation in the cart this fall really gave me a confidence boost as a young producer.
I was on the phone with a farmer whom I deeply respect. The way this farmer’s mind clicks, analyzes and applies is absolutely fascinating. Equal parts business owner and farmer; I’ve learned so much simply through observation.
Anyway, while on the phone our conversation centered around most decisions feel like too much at the time.
It feels like too much money and it won’t cash flow. It looks like too much extra work for the people we have now and it won’t work out. Logically, rationally speaking, it simply will not work.
Whenever I ask my dad or grandpa about buying a piece of land they tell me it was so much money for the time. Now I imagine we, along with every other farmer in the county, would buy the whole state for the price they found exorbitant years ago.
This farmer I admire had the same to share. He said he has had the chance to ask farmers more experienced than him what they would have done differently. He told me so far, they have all told him they would have bought more land. Each time he asks, he receives the same answer.
I'm following the logic more abstract than literally at the moment as I work this out in my mind. The lesson to be passed along is to keep jumping before I'm ready. It seems there are generally two groups of people. Those that save their money, then take the leap after they have the funds and those that jump first before knowing where the money will be found.
Honestly, I've always felt more comfortable in the latter position. I need to spend some time with myself to figure out exactly why still, but that's my method. Turns out, it's a majority of my family's method also so that worked out well in we all agree to jump together, ha!
Looking around the farm, I imagine our infrastructure was pondered the same way. How can we justify a heated shop? What else could we do with money instead of bins? Are these tree rows worth planting now? Those were questions that previous generations had to ask themselves before they decided to take the leap.
Being a part of a multi-generational operation I've been able to witness the sacrifice a previous generation has made that my generation is now reaping. I see the value in long term investments that I, myself, will likely never enjoy. That's part of the beauty in this agriculture life. None of what we really have here is ours. It's simply our turn to take care of it and grow it for now until it's someone else's turn.
As I look around at all we have, I'm extremely grateful those before me stretched beyond their comfort zones, took risks, and made big moves at the time because now in hindsight they all look mostly smart. I hope to continue that stretch of legacy.
My simple phone call reaffirmed that these decisions to grow are uncomfortable, scary, and risky in the moment. It also reaffirmed that we should stay in a state of discomfort in exchange for growth.
What do you think? Save your money until your ready or make the jump then find a way to pay for it?
Top Photo Credit: Brianne Partlow