Robert Hill says there was by no means any query what he was going to do along with his life. Not solely is he the fifth technology to come back up on his household’s farm in Gates, Tenn., however his love for agriculture was obvious from the beginning.
“The way my dad tells it, as soon as I had grown out of a car seat, I was riding with him on the tractor as much as he would let me,” Hill stated. “If I wasn’t with my dad, I was probably riding with my grandfather, checking cows. I started driving a tractor when I was five.”
Working the household farm sooner or later was all the time the final purpose, in line with Hill. However after graduating from Mississippi State College, he thought it greatest to take a job away from the farm for a number of years to achieve some completely different experiences. One telephone name modified his plans.
“We had a landlord call and say he had about 800 acres that had become available,” Hill remembers. “A week later 500 more acres became available.”
“That much land becoming available at one time is so rare. I knew I wanted to farm the rest of my life, and I felt everything was falling into place,” Hill stated.
Entry to accessible land is probably the largest concern for young farmers, even for those that develop up on generational farms. Hill, who was simply 22 on the time, knew he couldn’t let the alternative by, although it concerned substantial threat for such a young particular person.
“I started farming that ground, and then the next year, another 1,500 acres came up. We went from 4,500 acres to nearly 7,000 acres in two years,” Hill stated. “There were definitely growing pains, and I had to take some risks on buying my own equipment to work the additional acres, but it’s a decision I don’t regret.”
Now 28, and making ready to reap his sixth crop, Hill believes extra young farmers are going to should take possibilities within the coming years to maintain American agriculture robust.
“Those of us who are involved in production agriculture as a full-time job are getting fewer and fewer,” Hill stated. “The average age of the U.S. farmer is nearly 60. In the coming years, the face of agriculture is going to evolve even faster, and we’re going to have to take some more chances. That was part of the reason I went ahead and made the step of faith in 2016, and it turned out good for me.”
Lifetime of a young farmer
Hill farms along with his father, Jeff Hill, and sister Heather Hardy. Theirs is a primarily cotton operation, though they did enhance grain acres this 12 months — planting 700 acres of corn and 1,000 acres of soybeans. After we visited with Hill in late September, corn shelling was underway, however cotton harvest was a great distance off.
“When you talk to other farmers, they all say they’ve never seen a year like this one, but eventually we’re going to have to start seeing some years like we’ve seen in the past,” stated Hill, referencing the unusually cool, moist spring and early summer time the place components of Tennessee noticed nighttime temperatures within the 30s throughout the primary week of June.
“That made our crop very late. Most years we’re picking cotton in September, and we haven’t even started defoliating. Once you defoliate, you’re at least two weeks away from picking. So, it looks like it’s going to be the second or third week of October before we’re getting pickers in the field. That will make for some really long nights as we try to get everything harvested,” Hill stated.
Hill is used to lengthy nights throughout harvest. Although selecting cotton is his favourite a part of the 12 months, it doesn’t take many 16-hour days on the picker to get his repair.
“A lot of my friends who don’t farm are surprised at the hours we put in during planting and harvest,” Hill stated. “It took them some time to realize that when Robert says he’s working he’s not just blowing you off, he’s actually in the field working.”
“When it rains, though, they’re all expecting a phone call,” he added with a smile.
Young Farmers & Ranchers
Lower than 2% of the U.S. inhabitants farms for a dwelling, and of that small group of farmers, less than 8% are under the age of 35. Young farmers like Hill have few contemporaries.
That’s why management applications like Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers are useful for young producers.
“It is a very good program to get young farmers together and give us a chance to share our experiences. It’s easier to talk with someone your own age and meeting my farming peers across the state has been great,” Hill stated.
This 12 months, Hill was named runner-up in Tennessee’s Young Farmer of the 12 months contest. This system rewards farmers for their dedication to excellence within the agriculture business and their effectivity in farming practices, sound monetary administration and management in civic organizations.
The winners have been Lee and Halie Bagwell, row crop farmers from Robertson County, Tenn. Whereas he didn’t come out on prime this 12 months, as runner up, Hill obtained a Kubota M7-172 tractor, with LM2605 entrance loader to make use of for 250 hours. He additionally obtained insurance coverage protection on the tractor.
Profitable the competition is a purpose for subsequent 12 months.
“I’ve always been very competitive. I had to be. I have three sisters — it was always three against one,” he jokes. “But doing the contest, evaluating what you’re doing and how it measures up to other young farmers helps you sharpen your skills and grow a better crop next year.”