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Recent posts by Wyatt Fraas

Beginning Farmers: I want to start farming, is it feasible?

I just graduated college and I want to start farming, is it feasible? What are my options?

This is a time of tremendous opportunity in farming and ranching. Commodity production (undifferentiated crops and livestock sold into “commodity markets”) has minimal profit margin, unpredictable price swings, and many risks for a small, uncapitalized, inexperienced farmer. That type of farming is best entered with substantial farming-family support.

Retiring Farmers: What makes a good successor?

Retirement is when the owner departs from labor and management of the farm business. Retirement may not mean moving away or giving up on mentoring the next generation, but it does entail leaving management decisions to someone else. It can be a gradual or sudden process. It may be driven by long-term goals, health issues or events outside your family.

Beginning farmer grows organic and sheep operation

Justin Doerr left the Army after serving overseas and knew he wanted to farm for his civilian career. He is big on planning, so he attended farm tours and webinars across three states to prepare for launching his farm business. He eased back into sheep production, using facilities his parents had vacated while Justin was in the service. Since his youth was spent following his father's direction on farm tasks rather than making his own farm decisions, Justin wanted to share the risk in his startup year of crop production.

Rural Rockstar: Linda Kleinschmit a sustainable agriculture hero

In acknowledging her decades of leadership and service to sustainable agriculture, USDA has recognized Nebraska farmer Linda Kleinschmit as a NCR-SARE Hero.

Linda is a former Center for Rural Affairs Advisory Board member. She and her husband Martin, a former Center staff member, farm 365 acres of organic crops and livestock near Hartington, Neb. 

What Advice Would You Give a New Banker?

Recently a new loan officer in a small rural bank reached out to me, wondering what training I could recommend for her. It´s refreshing to get a question like that. A lender who shows curiosity in learning more about new crops or ideas is a valuable asset in a small community.

In my work with beginning farmers and veterans, I´ve observed a lot of farmer/lender interactions and thought a lot about how they could be improved. So I set forth to offer my advice to this young banker. See if you agree.

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