Over my 15-year career I have had the great opportunity to be surrounded by some tremendously talented individuals. Having grown up in a livestock/row-cropping family in Northeast Missouri, I can sense those who were raised in a similar environment, just like an incoming rainstorm. Most farm kids have underlying characteristics rooted within them, such as strong work ethic, general sense of ownership, and humility. The bottom line is that you must get the work done, so you quickly learn to be a team player and forget any sense of entitlement.
The business of farming requires a jack of all trades. It is not as simple as building a fence or putting out feed and taking to market. Developing business plans are just as relevant in the agriculture community as they are in real estate development. Site drainage is sometimes a forced understanding with rebuilding culverts or reshaping terraces in the field. Site circulation and operational patterns are key when considering the cycling of bulls and boars, breeding stock, and weening young’uns. Timing is critical when scheduling feed deliveries and contract delivery dates, let alone getting a crop planted and harvested in conjunction with reasonable weather conditions. These are just a few aspects of the farming world.As land planners, we farm kids continue to be jacks of all trades, we love exploring the history of a site, and we’re certainly not afraid of a dusty or muddy hike. Insider tip…farmers and ranchers have typically already studied their site, done their own analysis, and made fundamentally good land planning decisions on their own. Just like our mommas and poppas taught us, our life can be much easier if we watch and listen. As born and bred team players, we understand and insist upon collaboration with specialists across the board, including civil engineers, land use attorneys, market analysts, and many others.
Although farm kids are seemingly an endangered species with the rise of ‘big ag’, I am very optimistic that we will be supplied with a great crop of talent for generations to come. At least I hope so because the hogs don’t feed themselves.