How Difficult is it to Start a Farm?


Starting a farm

During the 1950s, the farm economy was not good, and many Americans left their farms to find jobs in the towns. My grandparents were a part of that movement. Hearing their stories of growing up on the farm is what led me to want to raise my children in a rural community and hopefully a farm.

Starting a farm from scratch is not an easy proposition, and I have probably had more failures than successes. I am lucky in one aspect: I still have a few acres of my great-grandfather’s original farm, where our family raises a herd of commercial beef cattle.

I know firsthand what it is like to sit across from a banker, sign a loan, put a plant in the ground, hope and pray that it will work out – only to see the weather crush it all. Back to the drawing board we go.

Another obstacle is that you must have assets to get the loans needed to truly farm full time, and no one wants to be so far in debt that you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. My wife and I work off-the-farm jobs to support our family. We have obligations to those jobs, our children and family, and organizations that we are involved with. We spend our very limited spare time trying to keep our farm going.

You must be 100 percent committed to start a farm, but in the end, you must keep pushing.

Justin Somers farms mostly Angus Beef Cattle in Yadkin and Wilkes counties with his wife, Lindsey, and his father, Terry. Justin also works as a senior flock advisor for Perdue Farms, Inc. Justin and Lindsey have two children, Julia and Preston, and a chocolate lab, Cocoa.

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