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Shauna Farver

Planning for the future of the farm

As harvest looms here on the farm and the drought wears on, we're looking towards the future and using this time as motivation to make plans for next season and beyond.

In the near future, we're already making adjustments for what we know will be a lean year, and we're putting the wheels in motion to start recouping our losses as we move into the next crop year.

It's also a time of transition for us, with our daughter off to college in a few weeks and just two years of high school left for our son, so we're making some plans for the distant future as well. They've both shown interest in coming back to the farm — in fact when they were younger, they planned for our daughter to come back to run cows and our son to do the farming. One of them would live here in our house with their family, and the other at the North place. When we asked where Terry and I would be living, they said we'd be in the nursing home, so it would all work out fine!

Since we're hoping they don't wait that long to return — and that we won't be relocating to the nursing home anytime soon — we're looking for options for expansion opportunities and ways to create income potential to support three families from what normally supports one. We know that's going to take a combination of many things, but it's a fun challenge to start thinking about and something to help us stay focused on what comes next.

This past week, we finished putting up Conservation Reserve Program hay, and it was a heartwarming glimpse into what might be around the corner on our farm. At one point our daughter was on the swather and our son was on the baler. Kaitlin Snapchatted a picture and shared it to her Dad and I — giving us a visual not only of what the staffing logistics might look like, but also a reminder of the way technology will play a part in the progression of our family business.

The variables for a sustainable operation on the horizon are many — weather patterns, funding sources, land availability, capital requirements, whether each of our kids decide to actually come back to the farm and make agriculture their chosen trade, bringing with them new spouses and off-farm jobs to juggle — the list goes on.

Faced with the uncertainty of the present and the unpredictability of the future, it would be easy to hesitate in choosing a path forward. Instead, we're choosing to take a page out of Henry David Thoreau's book and "go confidently in the direction of our dreams."

We're buoyed by the legacy of Terry's family that came before us, those hearty pioneers who homesteaded in an unforgiving land and forged their destiny from the dirt. And we're spurred onward by the conviction that for us, this place — this lot — is not just by chance, but by certain and conscious choice.

Regardless of what the fates hold in store, we'll be working to constantly evolve and search for solutions. We'll rise to the challenges of each new season and greet them with feet firmly planted in the soil of today and eyes on the promise of tomorrow.