Hey Guys, I just wondered how all you guys are doing mentally?
I am a 4th generation farmer, but basically started from scratch. I have been through a lot the last couple years. Bank failures, reduced prices and deaths in the family. Sometimes I am ready to quit but in my gut it feels like the good Lord says keep going. I am tired of struggling to pay electric bill, gas bill, etc. My wife works and I have 4 healthy kids but at times I feel like I can’t take anymore! We are all farmers And independent and strong, but commercial lending requirements are not kind. I live in New Jersey and yes there and are large farms here in south jersey. If there is anybody that is struggling mentally I will be glad to talk to you.. I am tired of feeling alone and I am working through the FSA process. At the same time I feel like WTF. Please connect Thanks,
I’m a first generation, I would be glad to help with anything you want to talk about. I used the FSA programs to get up and going along with a couple mentors and while it’s not easy, it gets easier.
If you want to shoot a phone number or something over to ***********************, I’d be glad to discuss it with you.
New Life Ministries has been a valuable resource to me and has provided my family with help and hope in life's hardest places. https://newlife.com/
I am a fifth generation farmer, that doesn't necessary make it was easier to start farming. I am very thankful for the wisdom I was given over the years and continue to receive. I started farming in 1980 raising hogs, renting some farmland and helping my dad. For a lot of years I made very little profit and the bank was very hard on me. I was very lucky to have a supportive wife with a good job in town. One of the things I find to be very important in agriculture is to have a team of people you can trust (but verify) to help with both the actual management of your farm and be mentally supportive as well. ( This does not have to be paid people, most of mine are not.) If you have a open mind and are committed to your business along with some support, I can tell you it does get better. Don't be afraid of change. Life is full of change, some for the better, some worse, but life is always changing.
In 1998 the hog market was in the tank and I was losing money. I decided to quit raising hogs. It was a tough decision. I was always told and thought that livestock was the way to get started in farming. looking back I realize that although I worked really hard at raising hogs, I was not very good at it. As it turns out quitting was the best thing I could have done. It made me look at all areas of my operation, think outside the box, evaluate all options. Today I farm row crops 2000 acres (corn and seed soybeans) as will as about 300 acres of alfalfa. Farming is a tough business, long hours, weather, markets...etc.
My advice might be worth what you payed for it, but here it is:
1) I agree with *********** (OH) Faith is very important. ****** 66 : 9 I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the lord!
2) Find that group of trusted people to work with. You already have the most important ones. ( your wife and family) Watch out for anybody trying to sell you something that will solve your problems. I have found that your fellow farmers tend to be your best source of information, most are not trying to sell you something and will not lie to you.
3) Don't be afraid of change, look for it, embrace it.
4) Think outside the box. For me it was growing alfalfa in the cornbelt.
5) Work smarter not harder (you still have to work hard)
6) If you don't have enough time to do all your work, do the $100/hour jobs yourself, hire the $20/hour jobs done. (from Brain Heftys' book $100 an hour jobs: lessons from dad)
6) If your current Bank is not helpful, find one that is, they are in business to make money, they need customers. Banks are no different than your ag retailer they need to earn your business. Some banks actually try to help you be more profitable.
7) Positive attitude. My Great Grandfather always wrote in his journal, " A Fine Day" even though later he wrote it was cold and windy and the cows got out. I have his quote on my machine shed wall.
8) I have been farming for over 40 years and am willing to pass on any knowledge I might have acquired over the years. If there is one thing you get from Farmer2Framer in Omaha it is that farmers all face the same hardships and some of us have survived a few of them! Just respond on community if you wish to hear more from me.
Sorry for being so long winded but I am passionate about agriculture and the future generations of farmers.
If you should decide to give up farming, I will leave you with this: I once had a farmer I knew very well and respected, tell me this: "There is life after farming" , the bank had made him quit several years earlier.
May God Bless your Family
There is life after hogs! We stopped hog production in 1999 as well. In hindsight, best decision to quit hogs, worst decision to start hogs. That industry has drained a lot of bank accounts and left a litter (pun intended) of empty barns all across North America
Thanks and it was very helpful. I was at a moment of mental exhaustion when I wrote that post. Faith and trust in God is a major part of this business. At the same point I let the old football player or the last of 7 kids come out in me and that is I will kick your ass! I just get tired of constantly pushing uphill. Unlike all the tycoons on Wall Street I refuse to give up my character cause that will get me further than anything and thanks again.
I promise you are not alone in feeling this way. I'm prob around the 9'th generation on our farm. The past 5 years have been a nightmare!! Drought, floods , hurricanes, you name it we have had it. On top of that 4 years ago we had to file chapter 12 bankruptcy and a few months after that I lost my 12 year old son in an accident. It has been a rough road for us. My faith has been the most important thing keeping me going. There are a lot of days I wonder where my next dollar is coming from or how will I be able to pay the bills but every time I wonder about it the good lord has made sure my bills are paid. I don't want our farm to end with me and I'm not going to give up. My family and friends have stuck with me and made sure I don't just quit. My advice to anyone who is struggling is keep your eyes on the lord and let him lead the way. If I can make it anyone can
Thank you for your response. I am very sorry about your loss. Keeping things in perspective is tough sometimes. I know some farmers around here are in a ditch also. I feel like I am racking up debts I will never get out of. The frustrating thing is I lost all my spunk and creativity. Right now after the last 6 years farming more is not the answer. A lot of custom work has dried up because people are just not planting as much. I just get annoyed it feels like every promising thing dries up. But I have no choice but to continue on. As of Saturday I had conversations with local Helena dealership to be an applicator (part time). They are short on people and I need the money. Might work well cause every day I just look at this farm and it just causes anxiety. I am giving up my poorer ground and focusing on doing less acreage but doing a better job. This way I can still do my custom work but also get a check at the end of the week. My dad always said to farm right you can’t have another job, but times have changed. It almost feels like farmer *** should have planter, farmer *** should have tractor., and etc. Doing a lot of soul searching right now and it happens to be 58 degrees and I am too broke to put fuel in the tractor. Lol. Thanks for your support.
I’m in kind of that same spot. You see the missed opportunities or the things that should have worked but didn’t. Then you’re in a hole and feel like there’s nothing you can do. I work an off the farm job but I can’t see myself not farming. Asking myself if this is a door closing and I should get out or if this is a tough time I need to work through.
These posts are proof who the back bone of America really is. I too have been in the game. Over 40 years. Just getting started at the ripe old age of 20 I was farming practically nothing and helping my dad. At 23 I tried to get into feeding cattle and lost my butt and that same year got hailed on my whole 160 acres of corn.. my fair weather banker called my notes as I was 17000 in the red. How times have changed. One year later both my parents were killed in a car wreck. Talk about feeling alone and nothing left. As most of you we endured, worked several off farm jobs and luckily married a girl that understands and stood by me. Church is also a big part of our lives. If it isn’t yours check it out it’s a necessity number one in life to have our god to lean on.. I now farm with my son that can work ten men under the table and still raise 5 beautiful grandkids and have a wife at his side that is just the same.
God, family , good friends, . Life on a farm is hard. Only a select few can do it. We have city friends that have no idea how we do what we do and still enjoy life. I know money is a necessity in the farm game but those three things trump them everyday