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Beginners practice planning and patience

Sometimes things just go smoothly. From the outside looking in, you find yourself wondering how it's possible. You wind up in the right place at the right time, and the doors of life open the first time you knock. Sometimes it's by chance, but Morgan McNeal, a beginning farmer from Paradise, Kansas, advises that proper planning and patience are the keys to success.

At the young age of 21, McNeal has worked through the common struggles plaguing young farmers. He owns much of his own land and rents much more. “I rent 200 acres of farm ground, and I own 240 acres,” he says. “I also rent 260 acres of pasture and run 16 head of pure Angus and crossbred Angus cow/calf pairs.”

So how is it possible for McNeal, a senior agronomy student at Kansas State University, to be so far out ahead at such a young age? “I started early,” he says. “I got a youth loan through FSA when I was 15 years old. It was huge for me.”

“If your family doesn't farm, try to work with a neighbor to build your three years of experience.” – Morgan McNeal

Before granting a farm ownership (FO) loan, FSA requires that applicants must have participated in the business operations of a farm or ranch for three years.

“So the $5,000 youth loan was beneficial,” he says. It gave him some money to start farming and gave him the time to build the experience necessary to meet FSA's requirements for a FO loan.

“If your family doesn't farm, try to work with a neighbor to build your three years of experience.”

In addition to planning ahead and practicing patience, McNeal advises beginning farmers to get an education.

“You take away more than what the classes offer,” he says. “You experience a lot of things and learn how other farm operations work.”

He also warns of becoming overconfident. “Be confident in yourself, but understand what can and can't happen,” he says.

Wise tips from one beginner to another.

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