Growing up, my parents always encouraged my brother and I to go to college to further our knowledge in agriculture, learn from other farmers and to see what agriculture is like outside of our family’s operation.
I always knew it wasn’t going to be a guarantee that I would be able to come back home and start a career on my family’s hog and grain farm right away due to the size of our operation and the capital needed to expand the farm to support multiple families.
Like many farm kids, I had to look elsewhere to stay involved in agriculture but I always had the dream of farming fulltime alongside my family.
After graduating from college, I had a great opportunity to work for another large, progressive hog farmer in his operation. I worked there for six years as a production manager overseeing 45,000 pigs while also helping on my family farm any chance that I could.
Throughout my time working off the family farm, I was able to learn many skills and expand my knowledge that I was able to bring home and implement on our farm.
My family and I spent years looking at various opportunities to grow the operation in hopes the farm could financially support another member of the family. There were many things we had to consider when looking to expand such as startup costs, financial risks and the ability to support having another full-time employee.
Towards the end of 2019, my brother and I were presented with the perfect opportunity to expand the family farm. We worked with a local producer who was retiring from raising pigs and wanted to help us young producers out by renting us his facilities to raise pigs in. We decided to take the leap and purchase sow farm shares which provided me with the opportunity to become self-employed.
Throughout my first year of being self-employed I have learned a lot. It is no longer just taking care of the pigs but also all of the day-to-day operations such as farm maintenance, paying bills, meeting with other industry professionals and being the lead decision maker for the hog operation. Overall, I am so happy I have been able to fulfill my dream of expanding the family farm and working alongside my family!
DREW KUHN – HOG & GRAIN FARMER, GENOA