Opportunity knocks for this first-generation Texas farmer
Terren Moore never planned to become a farmer. He signed up for an agriculture class to fulfill his high school elective requirement, hoping to simply get the credit he needed to graduate. It didn’t take long for Moore to transition from an inexperienced agriculture student to FFA member to first-generation farmer.
Moore started growing peas in a small backyard patch in his hometown of Winona, Texas. When he shared some of his harvest at an FFA meeting, he felt an enormous sense of satisfaction seeing teachers, parents, and students enjoying the produce he grew, and it solidified his desire to farm.
“It was my first time creating things with my own hands,” he recalls. “It was a really cool experience.”
With an acre of leased land, Moore launched Moore Peas Co. and began selling peas to teachers and church members. News of his harvests spread quickly, and Moore expanded his farm to keep up with the demand while also keeping up with the demands of high school academics and athletics. Eventually, Moore added onions and okra to his crops.
He continued farming while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agricultural services and development at Tarleton State University. He routinely made the three-hour drive from Stephenville, Texas, to his hometown to tend to the crops.
Finding His Place
After he graduated in 2017, Moore experimented with roles as an extension agent and seed sales representative but neither provided the satisfaction or earning potential he desired. Texas Farm Bureau offered Moore a job as an insurance agent in Greenville, Texas, and he jumped at the chance to work in a role that combined his interests in agriculture and sales.
“I was 21 years old and still on my parents’ insurance,” Moore recalls. “I didn’t have any insurance experience at all, and I didn’t even really know how insurance worked.” His previous experience in farming had taught Moore that he was a fast learner with a willingness to hustle. Rather than feeling nervous about starting a new career in an unfamiliar place, Moore focused on the opportunities.
“The people I worked with told me that the harder I worked, the more money I could make,” he says. “I didn’t know a single person in Greenville, but I packed my bags, found a small apartment close to work and started building a business. It took a lot of time, many miles on the road and I attended countless meetings, but it paid off.”
From the Ground Up
While working for the insurance agency in Greenville, Moore received a book of business that included lists of past and present clients. He started making cold calls, landed new clients, and expanded coverage for existing clients. Several of the customers who had purchased his peas when he was in high school and college became his first insurance clients.
“I had an Excel spreadsheet of produce customers, and I’d call and say, ‘Not only am I growing peas, but I’m also selling insurance. Would you like an auto quote?’” he says. “Those people knew me and trusted me, so it wasn’t a hard sell.”
At the same time Moore was building his insurance business, he also established a new farm, leasing land in Greenville to grow peas, okra, corn, and turnip greens.
The farm continued to sustain Moore as he built his insurance business. The personal relationships he created with the customers who purchased his produce proved instrumental for developing roots in his new community and building trust with future insurance clients.
“Farming is very personal. People come to my farm to pick up their produce or they come to the house to get produce from my fridge and they can have a one-on-one conversation with the farmer who grew the food,” Moore says. “I enjoy breaking ground, being out in the open fields and discing the fields and planting — I love all of that. I also love the relationships I’ve been able to grow through farming.”
Moore admits that starting two businesses at the same time was “a big hustle” but he never doubted the importance of either venture.
“People are always going to eat and there will always be a need to have insurance. Those are foundational things,” he says.
Moore established a mission to “feed and protect” his community by providing nutritious food and premium insurance coverage. Many of his customers are farmers who appreciated that Moore understood their businesses, the risk associated with farming, and their unique insurance needs.
“I specialize in farm and ranch insurance because I know the industry and farmers tend to want to do business with other farmers,” says Moore. “It’s never a guaranteed sale but my closing ratio for farm policies is high because I understand what kind of crops are grown and what kind of equipment is used. It’s easy for me to build rapport because those are my people and I know what they’re going through.”
Building on A Strong Foundation
Strong support from the local community, especially the agriculture community, gave Moore confidence that the timing was right to pursue his next goal: establishing his own insurance agency. He started Moore Farms and Insurance Services LLC in 2021.
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Opening a new insurance agency meant starting over with clients, and Moore was up for the challenge. He built his insurance agency using the same strategies he relied on for growing and selling crops: knowledge, relationships, patience, and passion.
“I enjoy driving tractors. I enjoy talking to people so when it comes time to work, it’s not really work, I’m just living life,” says Moore. “My mind-set is to be genuine, work hard, and be honest. Those three things have taken me far. When people see that you enjoy what you do, they are more inclined to support your business and get behind you.”