Ohhh . . . for the love of beef
I was reading another article about how hard it is for young people to get started in farming and ranching. These articles, comments and headlines gnaw at me.
My immediate thought was to go back in time and write a poor FFA motivational speech using cliches of hope and faith. Specifically the one that says you will miss 100% of the shots you never take.
However my FFA days are long over and I am too angry to write a motivational speech. This topic needs to be covered by more of a get off your butt and go after what you want speech. There has never been a time where it was easy to get started in farming and ranching. Every generation has made sacrifices to get started. I am not sure I would find it easy to pack up my family in a conestoga wagon and travel several hundred miles with a document from the government to stake claim to a piece of land.
It is time to redefine family farming. Jake and I would like to purchase a ranch a piece of ground to run cows and calves. However the bank won't loan us that kind of money (yet). So, we are building assets in other ways.
Things change! Time to be creative. What you really want may be a journey (so Jake and I tell ourselves daily). If you can have what you dream of today, your dream must not big enough.
One of the best accidental things I ever did was marry someone that has the same passion, that is my friend and my business partner. Jake and I agree on most of what we want our future to look like. If you are lucky enough to share the same dream as your life partner - Congratulations!
Gather your Skills - Jake spent the younger part of his life gathering skills (accidently of course). He worked for other farmers, he built houses where he learned building, concrete, electric and pluming skills. Jake had a wonderful welding teacher where he learned basic welding and fabrication skills. These skills have saved us an undetermined amount of money and helped increase our assets.
Find Mentors - people running any successful business and people that have at one point failed. I wish I had a list of people that have helped us. Jake and I should make a list as we often sit and think about the long list of people that have helped us learn and make progress toward our dream.
Great Bankers - preferably with one foot in agriculture and the other in the banking business. This banker should also understand what drives you, has clear understanding of your goals, has the words to tell you not now and keep working and the guts to tell you hell no.
Quiet possibly the hardest part is sacrificing some things that Americans in their 30's have like a really nice house, luxury cars, expensive vacations and down time.
Dream Bigger, Sacrifice and Pray - Anything is Possible no matter how old you are!