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Contributor

Re: Starting from scratch

Nebraskka, I am in Northwest Kansas. The scenario of preparing through the week and planting on the weekends would work here. I live in an apartment right now which is more economically feaseable for a single guy. Kay, I understand what you are saying. I appreciate your thoughts.
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Veteran Advisor

Re: Starting from scratch

This is half tongue in cheek, and half serious.  You could check out those 'farmer' dating websites.  A friend of mine, is dating a lovely young lady, who drives a tractor better than he can (but don't tell him I said that).  She also 'enjoys' checking the cows, and fixing fence.  He says if only she could cook, he'd have proposed long ago, LOL.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Starting from scratch

Tell HIM to take some cooking classes, and she may snap him up....

 

Oh, and BTW, I was waiting for this idea to surface again!

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Starting from scratch

Seriously, though.  Some of my nicer memories, are of being in the field, and having the family come bring me a picknic lunch.  Never too busy to stop for a half hour or so, to talk to the Mrs, and wrestle a bit with the kids.

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Senior Advisor

New Look

This might be a good time to review what you are good at and what you want to do.

 

You've expressed an interest in farming.  What is farming?  To some, farming is driving big machinery.  To some, it is working the soil.  To some, it is tending animals.  Others like the thrill of marketing.  Many like the freedom to (seemingly) make their own schedule and decisions.

 

Is farming the only profession to do those?  Of course not.  You could be an independent earthmoving contractor.  You could work in a zoo or be a veterinarian.  You could be a commodity trader for your own account.  You could be a free-lance repairman.  You don't have to farm to puruse these interests.

 

Wildlife biologists may work outdoors a lot, as do crop scouts and mining engineers.  The environment you prefer can be found in many careers.  Independence can be found in many professions.

 

This might be a good time to visit your local community college and see if you can get them to administer some tests - maybe free - that held explore your interests (not necessarily your ability).  Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory, Strong Interest Inventory, maybe even the Myers Briggs.  If you take them, do yourself a favor and take them honestly.  Do them quickly, using your initial reaction without too much rationalizing, and don't try to weight them to the outcome you THINK you want.  Just do them.

 

The book, "What Color Is Your Parachute" impressed me mightily when I was younger.  $20 in paperback.  It has a number of easy-to-do self evaluations that do a lot ot helping you find out what you are good at and like to do.  

 

The key to all of this is to not go into it with the idea that you want to farm and you'll make the test prove it.  The idea is that you like certain things about farming and the test may help you find out if there are other careers that also reward your skills and interests.

 

 Here's an example.  Suppose you like to be in an organizaiton where everybody knew where they stood.  There was a structured way of doing things and people were rewarded and punished on pretty universal principles.  What would that be?  Well, the military comes to mind.  But, so does a big hospital, a big bank, some universities and other "button down" organizations.  Do you like to work with your hands?  Mechanic, machinist, proto-type engineer, farmer, cabinet maker, physical therapist.

 

This is a golden opportunity to take a step back, re-evaluate your interests and skills, and then proceed with renewed focus and vigor with confidence you know how to optimize your potential.  Good luck.  It's a wildly exciting journey.  And, don't be afraid to change throughout your lifetime as your get to know yourself better.

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Honored Advisor

Excellent advice, Jim!

That is one of the best responses to the "I want to be a farmer" query I have ever seen. 

 

Any group that includes such a minor percentage of the population (and apparently shrinking with every passing year) is by necessity sort of hard to crack into.  Those of us left in 2012 are  - if not dinosaurs - sort of an endangered species. 

 

Also, the definition of "farmer" can be so broad that is is almost impossible to say who is and who isn't one.   I am sure the folks with Urban Chickens in Cary, NC, think that their statutorily-limited five laying hens makes them, "farmers", too. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Excellent advice, Jim!

Gotta agree.

 

Jim made me reconsider my own thoughts on agriculture.  Great entry.

 

Ben04,

you have a great attitude,  I would just add as some here have said, examine your definition of a farmer and what you like about the career.  As you know working for Cat,  we are in a technical age and it will just keep getting better.  Farming is probably gaining as much or more than any other profession from the tech world--------If there is a change that is bigger than that, it is the specialization of farms that has been enhanced by technology.

That's why I agree with Jim,  knowing what you enjoy and expect gets you on a good track.  The Jack of all trades, highly diversified, work alone, farmer is a diminishing breed.

Agriculture is perpetually changing in many exciting ways.  I hope you find a place you enjoy in "farming".

There will be a place for you.  Communicate with farms you respect and see progressing.  Ask their advice.  They will not be too busy to give advise.  

Nw ks is probably not different than sw------------many are looking for good young talent.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Excellent advice, Jim!

This whole tangent of this thread reminds me of the pointless and (then seemingly) endless debates we had on hog producer bulletin boards in the nineties.  As a contract grower, I was repeatedly informed that I was no longer a 'farmer."  Legally, of course, I was certainly defined as one, and our lifestyle had not changed immensely from when we were independent pork producers, except that = for the first time in our lives - we had a minimum income guarantee, and were insulated from spikes in input prices. 

 

Now, there are not all that many independents left anywhere anymore (NC had already gone to over 90% contracted production by the time we held those debates.) In the interim, the other really important "cash" crop in our region - tobacco - has shifted solely to ontract production. 

 

When I listen in on discussions here, I think that hardly anyone farms without significant. dependence upon contracts of some type.  Production contracts are only one variable in the equation. 

 

Jim's other thread on $324 land rent shows that  farming without involvement with other entities - landlords, marketing concerns, cooperatives, and integrators, to name only a few - is almost impossible in American agriculture today.  Maybe Ben04 ought to spend at least part of his time in vesting in a course or two in contract law....

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Honored Advisor

Re: Starting from scratch

Yes kay, we in hog production knew what was happening. Progress is just a train that runs you over, you either find a seat or get out of the way.
There is always denial, but if we live in grandpa's world and we can't see the present clearly, how can we find a measure of success in the future?
Technology is the final step for grains. Someone looking for a future in Ag needs to see that clearly.
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Contributor

Re: Starting from scratch

I appreciate everyone's response. You all make great points. Thanks for the insight, ideas, and knowledge.