January 1, 2018 was my first official day as a full time farmer. I went into the year with a plan, both for the farm and personally in terms of how I would sustain my family. I had enough money in my personal savings along with my wife's income as a school teacher to sustain us for the year. So, my farm plan was to reinvest 100% of the income generated from the farm back into creating a foundation for years to come. That's exactly what I did.
I expanded the herd, purchased equipment I would need, and I redesigned my pasture to maximize rotation efficiencies and better suit stress free cattle movement. I made improvements with the facility of the farm to open up space for crop storage and animal care.
I raised my first field of sweet corn for Pick Your Own Sweet Corn. Technically, 2017 was the first year I raised pumpkins, but I failed miserably. I didn't get one pumpkin that year. Instead of quitting on the idea, I tried it again in 2018 and had our first successful Pick Your Own Pumpkin season.
All of this was important, but the two most important things I did in 2018 was: 1) read lots of books about farming 2) engage with a business coach through monthly one hour meetings to learn how to run my own business. When I started the year, my wife and I agreed we would give farming three years to be successful. If we could not sustain our family after 3 years on farming then I would have to pivot away from my dream. As I write this, I am starting my sixth year. The primary reason for this is because I focused on learning. I approaching learning about farming and business as if I knew nothing. By not relying on what I knew going into the journey, my mind remained open to new ideas and creating improvements I never thought of before. I avoided in being stuck in old ways and was open to new/better ways of doing things. My mindset remains that was to this day. I believe that way of thinking has been one of the keys to my success.
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