Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to become a farmer from scratch. Between the land and equipment required, most people don’t have the money to get started on their own. That is if you’re trying to do it with conventional crops.
That’s the situation Nick Casey found himself in. Growing up working on farms, Nick always wanted to be a farmer. But he wasn’t grandfathered into an operation and didn’t have the cash to buy one.
However, he did have 10 acres in Ramsey, Illinois, that he purchased in 2014. While working at a school, he heard a student talk about how her father got into organics. It piqued his interest. So he met with the student’s father and decided to give organic farming a try. He grew his first organic crop of white corn in 2018.
Because the land had been in food plots since 2014, Nick already completed the organic transition process and was able to jump into organics right away.
Did you know there are six scenarios in which you can skip or shorten the organic transition period? Check out this blog post to learn more.
He also decided to work with an organic certification company, but it wasn’t a great experience. It took talking to the company and the organic farmer he knew to understand what information he needed to provide.
So when he met AgriSecure account executive Kenn Jenkins at the Farm Progress Show that fall, it didn’t take long for him to switch.
“I looked at dollar for dollar and saw I’d be getting three or four times the services for the same amount of money I was getting just for certification.”
- Nick Casey
And the certification process improved. Instead of Nick being on his own and digging through physical documents, Kenn was present for the inspection. He brought his computer so he could send digital files immediately to the inspector. And he answered questions that were out of Nick’s scope.
“The certification process with Kenn present was less stressful because I had someone backing me up,” Nick says. “That was a tremendous advantage.”
Joining AgriSecure also opened up a whole new network. Before becoming a member, Nick based his decisions on the other organic farmer. With Kenn’s help, he could find the right source of organic inputs.
Nick also tapped into expert advice and education on organic management. Instead of visiting the one organic farmer he knew — who was an hour’s drive away — he can attend webinars, access information on the AgriSecure website, or call Kenn, who he says always gets back to him in a reasonable timeframe.
This near-instant access to knowledge is not only convenient but has improved his farming.
Weed management is Nick’s biggest obstacle, but he says it continues to get better because of what he’s learned from AgriSecure.
Thanks to organics and AgriSecure, Nick has grown his operation to 130 acres and will be 100% organic in 2022. His goal is to continue expanding so his three sons can become farmers.
“Organic was our way to have the resources every year to expand a little bit because we were profitable,” he says.
Joining AgriSecure has made that pursuit easier. Nick considers partnering with the company a necessity for organic farmers. “It’s well worth the money spent to tie in with AgriSecure.”
AgriSecure was founded by organic farmers to help other farmers make the leap with success.
If you’d like to become a farmer, expand your farm, or secure better profits, organics may be the solution.