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What's a kid to do?
It happens often. Farm kids grow up and decide that a career in farming just isn't the right fit for them. Aspirations lead them to another field of study and a different profession, and families are left to figure out new means of help and succession. Such has been the case for Phillip VanScoy of Ridgeway, Ohio, who recently sought advice on the Farmers For The Future network.
“Being that I am only 18 years old, I am really still a kid. But I believe that I can take on things that adults do. Like getting a job. I want to work a job while I'm in college, but Dad wants me to stay on the farm. And he claims he'll pay me. Every time I talk about or even think of taking an off-farm job, Dad pretty much throws a fit about it. He told me that I have to finish what I started. Well, I started a career path to be a mechanic, so it makes me feel like he doesn't want me to try to find a job in my area of study. I feel that I have finished what I have started on the farm, and it can easily be cared for while I finish the other part of what I have started.
“So, what do I do? I mean no disrespect to my mom and dad, but this is something I want to do. They told me to follow my dreams, and they get mad because I'm leaving,” says VanScoy.
Other young and beginning farmers quickly shared their opinions, all in favor of education.
“What did you start that you aren't going to finish?” asks Morgan McNeal. “As long as you have no ties to the farm itself except through family, then you have nothing to hold you there.”
“There is nothing that can beat an education,” adds Royce Lodoen. “Even if you were to go and get a degree or a diploma, you can call it quits on a job and come back to the farm. Once you have that education, no one can take that away from you, and it is something to fall back on if the farm doesn't work.”
“I was somewhat in that same situation, but my dad respected my decision to go off to college,” says Tony Eickman. “I had an inkling I would want to move back when I settled down, but I was going to check out every fork in the road. Eventually it led me back to working with Dad and Grandpa on the farm.”