Take a look at Darren Frye's recent blog, "A question for the next generation: Why farm?"
He writes about how passion is crucial for future leaders and managers of farm businesses. He asks the readers why they started farming -- interesting timing for this question given today's economic environment. He discusses in the article about not being intimidated by the economic cycles in agriculture.
We should ask: As young farmers, why did we enter farming?
I started farming in 2012. It happened to be the worst drought our farm has had in years, but crop insurance covered the grain contracts we could not fill. The high level of crop insurance saved us from extreme hardship and it would have taken years to recover without it.
I rented my first farm in 2013. Both 2013 and 2014 were good years for me. I was able to easily pay back the operating money I borrowed through the USDA beginning farm loan, and also build up some working capital. I have some grain sold for 2015, but have not sold any in months. It is pretty sobering today to look at my current barely breakeven or negative crop budgets.
We knew this was coming, as Dad and I have been discussing since early 2014 that our 2015 financial statements and 2016 projections will accurately show this new plateau of the farm economy.
His article hit home with me, and I recommend that all young farmers read it. Many farmers my age have not seen the economy we are facing today. I liked the idea of making some money when I returned to the farm, but that was not the reason I returned.
Running the family business, farming with my family, and working the land were a few of reasons I left the corporate world. You can read more about why I started farming in a previous Farm Futures blog.
Young farmers need to look inside and see if they are committed long term to this business. Farming is not easy, but good farm returns do make farming more attractive. We have faced tough times before, and the coming years will probably be a return to that.