Home / News / Business news / Panelists share growing pains, passion

Panelists share growing pains, passion

Agriculture.com Staff 07/21/2006 @ 7:30am

Participants at the 2006 New Century Farmer Conference near Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday shared both their growing pains and their passion for a farming future. The annual event was sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. and Rabobank as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

A panel of four farm families described their farm roles and operations, and fielded questions from their audience of 40 bright and motivated young farmers. Not surprisingly, the how-tos of farm transition triggered the most questions.

Kriss and Deb Lightner and their son, Zac, farm near Lohrville, Iowa. Zac is a sixth generation farmer. "We worked hard not to influence Zac to come back to farm with us, although that's what we hoped would happen," Deb said.

Zac said his experiences working at a marina in Alaska provided skills that carry over into the farm business today.

"I learned how to deal with employees and how to motivate them," he said. "Now I have a farm employee of 17 years, and he's my responsibility. Working for a small business not owned by my family allowed me to stand back and watch how they interacted with each other, and learn from their issues."

He said that he also was able to fine-tune his mechanical skills at schools sponsored by Polaris and other marine equipment companies.

Greg Jochum also worked off-farm. After working for an agronomy company for a few years, he and Krista joined the farm operation in 2000. They farm 4,000 acres near Salix, Iowa, with his parents, Leo and Bev and his sister and brother-in-law, Deb and Tony Harpenau. Krista is an insurance account specialist with Farm Credit Services.

Greg said his parents are working with them, as well as an attorney and accountant to transfer the operation, and retire from farming. "Once Krista and I had a few of our own assets, Dad and I started buying equipment together," Greg said. "When he retires, I'll only have to buy half."

Two years ago, his sister and her husband joined the operation. "That made us step back and re-evaluate plans," he told the young farmers. "Tony grew up on a livestock farm, and my background is more in agronomy. We all get along, but it's a good idea to make sure to have an exit plan, whether it's five years from now, or 20 years."

Participants at the 2006 New Century Farmer Conference near Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday shared both their growing pains and their passion for a farming future. The annual event was sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. and Rabobank as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Mike and John McClure, Dallas Center, Iowa, added a father/son perspective to the panel. "John is one of my biggest assets on the farm," Mike said. "I need him, and I hope that he needs me." Mike said he's already looking down the road to the next generation.

CancelPost Comment
MORE FROM AGRICULTURE.COM STAFF more +

Farm and ranch risk management resources By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am Government resources USDA Risk Management Agency Download free insurance program and…

Major types of crop insurance policies By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am Crop insurance for major field crops comes in two types: yield-based coverage that pays an…

Marketing 101 - Are options the right tool… By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am "If you are looking for a low risk way to protect yourself against prices moving either higher or…

MEDIA CENTERmore +
This container should display a .swf file. If not, you may need to upgrade your Flash player.
Cool Tools Christmas Edition: Part 2