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Nine Years Later!

It's unbelievable that my most recent post dates back to 2019! Life is an unpredictable adventure. During this period, we have faced numerous challenges like cancer, modifications to our business plan, growth, and gained valuable knowledge.

The love for farming united us, though it also caused some rifts before ultimately reuniting us. While some believe farming represents a simple life, the truth is quite the contrary. With less than 1.5% of Americans engaged in farming, the numbers are dwindling. However, a new generation and farming approach are emerging in our region, bringing positive change.

I'm always reminding myself that the only thing that ever stays the same is that everything is constantly changing.

For 15 years, there were no agricultural programs in our county until Alex took additional initiative at his job to reintroduce the programs and secure funding for our farmers.

Some people often tell me that they don't understand how I manage everything - taking care of the livestock, dealing with customers, and handling daily tasks. I just smile in response, as I consider myself fortunate to have had my parents as role models. They showed me the value of hard work and commitment to their passions. Despite raising a family and working full-time jobs, they were both successful entrepreneurs.

June 24th, 2015 marked a significant milestone for Alex and I as we finalized the purchase of our farm. Beginning with a few hogs, some dairy cows, a beef cow, chickens, and Rebecca Lynn's Rabbitry, we embarked on a journey of shared faith, passion, and a strong ambition for farming.

Reflecting on this day and seeing the progress we have made always brings me a sense of fulfillment.

Our property was purchased with a Farm Ownership Loan in collaboration with the Farm Service Agency.

One of the key criteria I had when searching for a place was that it must include a living space on the premises. I used to milk a few cows and had to transport the milking equipment and all necessary items from the rented barn to the rented house, which was far from convenient.

Upon our initial relocation, the kitchen sink was insufficient for cleaning my milker, hence I resorted to utilizing the shower tub for several months. Nonetheless, my joy at being here remained unwavering.

The barn required significant repairs, but I recall entering the small barn and feeling thrilled to see a line of head gates prepared and waiting for me. Over time, we have painted the exterior and the roof of the barn. Originally used as a milking barn and rabbitry, it was later converted into a calf and hog barn, and currently it functions as a goat barn.

We utilize the tall barn for housing livestock and storing hay. As shown in the background (of the top picture), we acquired a hoop barn by utilizing an operating loan from the Farm Service Agency. This project, which involved putting up the barn ourselves after digging and installing electric and water connections, was essentially our honeymoon endeavor.

Over time, we transformed an empty space into a residence and a functional farm. Our initial vision of the ideal farm has evolved significantly over the years, influenced by different circumstances. The decision to discontinue raising rabbits and chickens was driven by the realization that the labor involved did not yield sufficient profits. We shifted our focus to a herd of beef cattle by internally expanding and crossbreeding my dairy cows with beef bulls.

Upon the introduction of goats, we decided to develop our herd to be registered Pygmy Goats.

We have continued raising hogs and continue to breed the Berkshire breed, emphasizing smooth farrowing and ensuring the overall well-being of the hogs.

Year by year, our farmstand has expanded. It was initially set up in our garage with a small self-service refrigerator and freezer, then evolved into a small red farmstand by the roadside, and finally included a grain bin to accommodate more space and a unique touch.

The growth and expansion of our business have been accompanied by the support for other local farms and their products. We are grateful to the community for backing us, and we are committed to assisting other farmers in their growth and development. Rather than viewing other farmers as competitors, we see them as potential partners with whom we can collaborate.

There are various farming methods, ranging from techniques to branding. However, regardless of our approach to farming, we are all united in this endeavor. Sharing knowledge with one another is essential for the agricultural community to progress.

In life, we can make all the plans we desire for the future, yet ultimately, it is essential to appreciate and make the most of the present moment and the people around us. Reflecting fosters gratitude and appreciation for each day, recognizing that tomorrow is never promised.

At present, we are focusing on strategies to achieve a better balance in our workload. Alex is employed off the farm on a full-time basis, whereas I am fully dedicated to farm work. The unexpected success of our farmstand and wholesale business has led us to continuously seek ways to handle it effectively. At one point, the stress nearly drove us to give up on the farm and our relationship. Fortunately, with the help of guidance, we are now rekindling and strengthening our family bond, surpassing our previous state.


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