I remember that March Iowa morning in 2012 quite well.
I was going about my usual business of calling on crop insurance agents and selling my company services. I had been calling on this one agent for almost two years. He was a smart business owner and agent, but would not give me the time of day when it came to what I was selling. I stopped in periodically and it seemed like we always ended up talking about farming. This day was no different, until he asked me, “Maria, why aren’t you at home farming with your family?”
I am not usually short of words, but that day I was tongue-tied.
I always had thought about a career in farming, but could not wrap my mind around how it would really come to pass. I stewed over it a while, and then came to this conclusion: I had a short window of opportunity to farm with my dad, and that window was closing more each year. After many discussions with my parents, I turned in my two weeks’ notice, loaded up my apartment, and headed home to Greene County.
Fast forward to today, and I am starting my third year of farming with my parents near White Hall, Ill. Farming has not been without its challenges, but I will look back on my decision to return as the best decision I have ever made. It is interesting how I thought I had the future planned, and then a chance discussion changed my path.
Related: How to help young farmers
I love just about everything about farming. I love planting corn, baling hay, and working with the cows. I am currently responsible for marketing hay and crops, crop insurance decisions, finance, working with landowners, and many of the physical tasks that fall under the umbrella of farming.
Dad is especially happy I returned because he no longer has to go to the FSA office!
The days can be long, and sometimes Dad and I do not agree on certain decisions. At the end of the day, what I love most about farming is how I am part of the sixth generation on both sides of my family to work the land. I was shelling corn last year with Dad on one of our farms, and I have to admit got a little teary eyed when I thought about how he worked on the same farm with my grandpa.
I invite you read my new blog, Millennial Manager, here at Farm Futures. Young farmers face several management challenges, opportunities, and often resistance when it comes to working with the older generation. I am going to address these management problems in this blog. I want to share my perspective and how we do things, and invite you to provide feedback on how you handle these situations yourself.
I look forward to meeting you here.