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Potential partners

Agriculture.com Staff 07/07/2010 @ 9:09am

Potential partners Leroy Scott and Dustin Shoemaker don't have the same farming goals. But they just might have something better --complementary goals.

Shoemaker, who is 21 years old, is eager to farm. Scott, 59, is equally eager to turn day-to-day operations over to someone else over the next six or seven years. "But I plan to stay involved in the farm well beyond then," he says.

When he and Shoemaker met, he was looking for someone to continue the operation he had spent over 40 years building.

Shoemaker didn't grow up on a farm, but spent time on his grandfather's farm and at his family's John Deere dealership. Plus, he worked on another farm for a couple of years while he was in high school and going to college part-time. The desire to farm was always there.

"I've wanted to farm ever since I can remember," Shoemaker says.

Scott and his wife, Patsy, have two daughters who are not interested in operating the farm but are interested in seeing it continue after their father retires in six or seven years.

Scott and Shoemaker are in the preliminary stages of meshing their complementary goals. Since August of 2001, Shoemaker has been employed by Scott on the 1,800-acre grain farm at Toledo, Illinois. It's a combination of owned and rented land.

Potential partners Leroy Scott and Dustin Shoemaker don't have the same farming goals. But they just might have something better --complementary goals.

So far, so good. Both of them say they are comfortable with the way things have gone during this get- acquainted period.

If things proceed as planned, Dustin will, over time, buy Scott's machinery, rent his land, and, if possible, assume the leases on the land Scott rents.

They both realize this is probably a one-shot opportunity. If their arrangement doesn't work out, Scott probably wouldn't try it again because he thinks several years are needed for a successful transition. And the chances are slim that Shoemaker would find another farmer as willing to bet on a beginner with more energy and desire than financial resources.

Another challenge is to increase the size of the farm Ð or at least keep it from shrinking. With several landlords of various ages, there are always going to be some changes in land tenure.

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