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Episode 45: The Ins and Outs of Contract Growing with Nathan Schroeder

Host Libby Wixtead recently sat down with Ohio Pork Council treasurer Nathan Schroeder of FNK Farms to discuss the opportunities within contract hog barns. These specialized facilities have gained prominence in recent years, offering numerous opportunities and benefits to producers. In this episode, we’ll dive deeper into the advantages of contract hog barns and their role in sustainable pork production. 

Risk Mitigation

Contract hog barns offer financial stability to farmers by providing a guaranteed market for their products and predetermined pricing, reducing producers’ vulnerability to market fluctuations. Nathan expressed how this additional layer allows producers to plan for the long term and confidently invest in their operations.

The Importance of Integrators 

Building and maintaining a strong relationship with integrators is an important element of contract hog barns. Nathan shared how integrators are on standby to help and assist with any questions that arise. “There’s always somebody there to give you advice if you’re having problems.” In addition to steady and consistent support from integrators, another benefit is splitting responsibilities. For example, Nathan explained how when starting a contract growing facility, growers are responsible for the upkeep of the building whereas the integrator is responsible for the feed cost. 

New Avenues for Income

Contract growing also creates new opportunities for farmers. Farmers are able to diversify their operations and venture into new commodities that may have a higher market demand or better price stability, reducing their reliance on a single commodity. F&K Farms expanded their operation by beginning a trucking company and selling manure as fertilizer, which created new income sources. When describing the fertilizer commodity, Nathan shared, “It's a great source to use on your own farm, and any excess that you have, is a great commodity to sell.”

Advice for Young Farmers

When considering a hog barn venture, take the time to thoroughly understand and do the needed homework. Nathan shared how he considered his operation’s long-term goals and how a contract hog barn aligned with them. Nathan encouraged young farmers to have a plan, “Plan for the bad times, not good times.” AgCredit is here to help you and provide valuable insights to ensure your next decision is the best for you and your operation. 

Here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [00:51]: Nathan Schroeder, a farmer from Leipsic, Ohio, shares his off-the-farm experience and details his farm operation and those closest to him who help make it all happen. 

  • [02:09]: In his own words, Nathan provides his perspective on how contract growing works and the important role integrators play. 

  • [03:43]: Nathan outlines the different contract growing opportunities and how he and his family weighed their options when choosing swine over other species. 

  • [06:51]: Weighing the options, Nathan discusses how the farm had grown to a point where he could determine he could leave his employer and farm full-time. Step by step, FNK Farms was able to bring a third family back home to the farm. 

  • [11:57]: Nathan begins discussing the benefits and challenges of contract growing. He highlights the different avenues and commodities generated by contract growing – like using manure for fertilizer – and the ability to expand your operation’s footprint. 

  • [17:20]: When problems arise, integrators quickly step up and start finding solutions with their farmers. Nathan discusses this importance and provides examples. 

  • [19:39]: Ohio Pork Council works diligently to bring solutions to pork producers. As treasurer, Nathan shares how the office works hard to bring answers to any questions people may have.

  • [22:54]: Nathan breaks down the importance of a business plan and the importance of being prepared when coming to the “table” and having a relationship with AgCredit. 

  • [25:24]: There are a lot of considerations when looking into contract grower options. Nathan shares his tips for someone exploring their options. 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Ohio Pork Council

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Share questions and topic ideas with us:
Email podcast@agcredit.net

Transcription

Libby Wixtead (00:08):Welcome to AgCredit Said It. In each episode, our hosts sit down with experts from all parts of the agriculture industry to bring you insights and must-have information on all things from farming to finances and everything in between. Welcome back to season three of AgCredit Said It, and this is Libby Wixtead. Last episode, we celebrated Cooperative Month, however, October is also Pork Month. We are talking swine contract growing today with Nathan Schroeder for FNK Farms from Leipsic. How are you, Nathan?

 

Nathan Schroeder (00:41):I'm good, Libby. How are you today?

 

Libby Wixtead (00:42):I'm good. I'm glad you're here with us.

 

 

Nathan Schroeder (00:45):I'm glad I'm here with you, too.

 

 

Libby Wixtead (00:46):Would you give us a little bit of background on you and your farm operation?

 

Nathan Schroeder (00:51):Yeah, so like you said, my name's Nathan Schroeder. I'm from Leipsic, Ohio, small town in northwestern Ohio here. My wife Mariah, and I have two kids, Courtney and Evan. Courtney's here in Findlay College and Evan's a freshman. My brother Kyle and his wife, Kelly, live on a farm here now. And we have a partner named Luke. He's also part of our organization. I farmed all my life and after high school, I went to college to be a diesel mechanic and got a job at what used to be Findlay Implement here in Findlay and worked there for boy just shy of 20 years. And then we got into... We talked me, my brother, and Luke, and decided we wanted to start farming and one thing led to another and pigs were one of our options. But as important as the row crop farming is, pigs are a big part of it too. So kind of in a nutshell, that's me. I like to fish and golf too.

 

Libby Wixtead (01:59):Like every other farmer. From your perspective, how does contract growing work?

 

Nathan Schroeder (02:09):So basically when you go into a contract with your integrator, they're paying – you probably the easiest terms – is the lease your building off. You are responsible for the upkeep of the building, the care of the pigs. Now they do send their employees out to help. I mean, you're just not in the shadows trying to figure out all this. So they're out there helping and guiding you, how to do things and they have a veterinary on staff, so there's always somebody there to give you advice if you're having problems. You’re responsible for the utilities of the building. They're responsible for the feed, getting their own time and kind of overseeing the operation, helping you guide along. So that's kind of contract growing.

 

Libby Wixtead (02:54):Okay. So did you guys know anything about pigs before you had contract barns?

 

Nathan Schroeder (02:59):No, there's always been some animals along our farm. There's always been some pigs, there's always been some cattle, nothing on a larger scale. I have some cousins that have a sow farm, so I kind of knew some, I didn't know a lot, but it was an avenue. We looked at a lot of different animal housings that we were thinking about when we did this and pigs kind of fit our needs or our wants when we decided to do something.

 

Libby Wixtead (03:34):So what attracted you then to being a swine contract grower instead of doing poultry or anything like that?

 

Nathan Schroeder (03:43):Poultry's fine. Turkey's fine. Cattle, they're all good. It’s just that hogs enticed us a little more. It seemed to fit our nature a little bit on the contract. Why we did contracting? There's a safety net when you go into contract with somebody else. Anybody can go out there and put a sow farm up and have some finishing barns and go market your own hogs. That was something we didn't want to go down. There's a big liability there. Not saying we couldn't have done it, but this is a choice we made. So we went into the contract farming for Hord livestock and have been happy ever since.

 

Libby Wixtead (04:23):Yeah, I know just becoming an independent, I feel like is very tough just with the whole marketing piece of it where you market in numbers now. It's just really hard to do that just starting out or trying to diversify your operation. It's easier to go in with somebody, at least I think as a young beginning farmer, it's easier to go in with somebody who's already established and then it's less cost, like you said, less of a risk to you and you're also getting a payment every month rather than trying to create your own payment every month to make your loan payment.

 

Nathan Schroeder (04:55):Right. Yeah, like I said, you could go do it. It's a lot of risk, but it's also a pretty good feeling when you know what you're getting paid every day. Leave it to a farmer to say, and it is human nature to say you always want more money. I always want more. If I've had buddies say, "God, I wish we had more money," and my answer is, "Yeah, that'd be nice, but go do it yourself. Go take the risk of marketing and this and that."

 

Libby Wixtead (05:21):Well, it's just a lot more work.

 

Nathan Schroeder (05:23):It's a lot more work. It's a lot more headaches and a lot more sleepless nights, but for us, our operation, it works great.

 

Libby Wixtead (05:32):Okay, so you guys started off with one finishing barn, and then how did you expand from there?

 

Nathan Schroeder (05:34):We started off when we did it, we put up two finishing barns.

 

Libby Wixtead (05:37):Oh, you put up two from the start. Okay, so you just went out and just did it.

 

Nathan Schroeder (05:42):Yeah, my wife, God bless her, brought her in from town, and actually before we did this, it was me, my dad, and my uncle, we did all the farming. My brother helped out when he could, but we were all working full time, and at John Deere, when we're busy at the farm, I'm busy at work, and I was putting 80 hours in there, and we come to the point where we actually rented our farm out for about five years.

 

Libby Wixtead (06:08):Oh wow.

 

Nathan Schroeder (06:08):And that night, me and my brother and Luke got together and we just got talking. That was back when the corn hit $7 for the first time in its life. And we said, "You know, why don't we start doing this?" And we started doing it and talking a little more. I said, "Well if we're going to do this, let's get serious about it." And one thing led to another and a little trucking company then the hogs and knock on wood, it kind of all worked out.

 

Libby Wixtead (06:33):Yeah, here we are today.

 

Nathan Schroeder (06:34):Yep.

 

Libby Wixtead (06:36):So you talked about working full-time. So at what point in this farm operation did you decide, okay, this is too much to have a full-time job? I want to expand the farming operation with the contract growing piece of it. At what point were you like, okay, I think I can do this and be a full-time farmer?

 

Nathan Schroeder (06:51):So when we first started this, when we put the two double wides up kind of simultaneous, we started a little trucking company. Luke was the first one to go to a semi-part-time job. And then a year later, he went full-time at home on the farm. And it was tough and I'll be the first to say it was very tough. We didn't have the money to pay the value of what he was on that farm, but we did everything we could. We made it work.

 

(07:22):A few years later, I think it was about three years later, just something kept telling me it's time to do it. It's time to do it. And now leaving a great job. I had a great job at John Deere. I mean I just had everything I ever wanted and if I needed it, I'd ask and I'd get it. And it was probably about a year or some semi-sleepless nights and whatever drove me to do that. I say it was Grandpa up in Heaven saying, "It is time to do something." And we decided to be one of the first nurseries we put up and that kind of triggered me to know it's time to come back home on the farm. And pretty happy to say here, that in about six more months we'll be able to bring a third family back home.

 

Libby Wixtead (08:09):Well that's exciting.

 

Nathan Schroeder (08:10):It is. And that was the main goal when we started is to get everybody working back home and we're just about there.

 

Libby Wixtead (08:16):Yeah. So you guys started off with two finishing barns. You said you did a nursery, which you have two nurseries, right?

 

Nathan Schroeder (08:22):Yeah. So we did that nursery and I left work to come home to work full-time. Probably about three years after that we put another nursery up and that kind of insured some income maybe for the next generation of coming in is kind of what the game plan is there.

 

Libby Wixtead (08:38):So what is the difference that you see between a finishing barn and a nursery barn?

 

Nathan Schroeder (08:43):There's a lot more pig movement in the nursery.

 

Libby Wixtead (08:46):Yes.

 

Nathan Schroeder (08:47):But there's good and bad with everything. In the nursery, you're moving pigs every six weeks.

 

Libby Wixtead (08:52):But they're little.

 

Nathan Schroeder (08:53):But they're little. Now, little ones don't like to move sometimes too, but there is a lot more cleaning. It's a lot more labor-intensive. Now, I say it as a double-edged sword. Finishing barns, I don't want to say they're not labor intensive. They are. You're dealing with 300-pound hogs from 40 pounds. They're hard sometimes and-

 

Libby Wixtead (09:15):Taking your knees out.

 

Nathan Schroeder (09:16):Yeah, you got to just be careful. So there are definitely benefits to both and downfalls to both and the nursery kind of fit our schedule and how we want it. And personally, I like dealing with the baby pigs more than anything and that's kind of where I'm stuck is in their nurseries now.

 

Libby Wixtead (09:32):Yeah, that's where your full-time employment is now since you like the babies.

 

Nathan Schroeder (09:38):It feels like. Yep. Me and my brother take care of the nurseries and Luke kind of takes care of the finishing barns and we work together when we can, we have to.

 

Libby Wixtead (09:46):So you guys have found a nice way where everybody kind of has a spot on the farm now between all  four of your hog barns and then with the actual crop side of it?

 

Nathan Schroeder (09:57):Yeah, everybody's kind of got their little niche there that they work on between the nurseries and the finishing barn and the row cropping and the trucking and obviously it overlaps and we help where we got to help when we can, but like every other operation it gets awful crazy certain times a year.

 

Libby Wixtead (10:14):So out of all three of you, you talked about loading the pigs out. Is that enough help to load out out of your finishers, out of your nursery or do you guys have to get additional help on that?

 

Nathan Schroeder (10:26):Out of the finishing barns, we got some good friends and we got a crew of about a dozen people to pull from to help.

 

Libby Wixtead (10:33):Keyword: they're friends, right?

 

Nathan Schroeder (10:35):Absolutely. They’re friends. Now, they're very well-reimbursed friends when they load hogs. But my son, he's old enough now, he's been moving a lot of hogs out of the finishing barns when he can in between school and everything else. And he helps a lot in the nursery. So it's getting there.

 

Libby Wixtead (10:53):Yeah, no, it's just one more piece to have to think about if you're going to put up a contract barn is your load help, you can't just load out these 300-pound hogs yourself.

 

Nathan Schroeder (11:00):Nope.

 

Libby Wixtead (11:02):Probably take all night.

 

Nathan Schroeder (11:03):You got to have a few people around to help you with that job.

 

Libby Wixtead (11:06):All right, well with that we're going to take a quick break.

 

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Libby Wixtead (11:39):All right, well welcome back. Now we're going to move a little bit to what some benefits and challenges are with contract growing. I know you've talked a little bit about it, but can you go into what are some benefits of being a contract grower and then what are some challenges that you also face being a contract grower?

 

Nathan Schroeder (11:57):Sure. So the benefits of it, one, it starts to lead you down the path to be working at home on your farm. Fertilizer supply, you're sitting on a lot of organic manure there, and it's a great source to use on your own farm, and any excess that you have, it's a great commodity to sell to neighbors. I feel like there are a lot of barns that don't quite utilize what they could on selling the manure, but they're getting there. It's a lot of the, I don't want to say old generation, but the generation before me just kind of sees it as God, I got to get that out of there. Where we see it. What we don't use is that we can market this somewhere.

 

Libby Wixtead (12:48):Hey, that's us. We just got to get it out of our barn.

 

Nathan Schroeder (12:48):That's right.

 

Libby Wixtead (12:48):Does it ever flow?

 

Nathan Schroeder (12:49):But it's just a secondary source of income. It's a source of income anywhere you look at it. If you use it for your own farm, you don't have to call up Nutrien or Legacy and say, "Hey, I need this MAP or DAP or whatever spread on the field," because now you got it at your convenience, takes some effort, some equipment and that's where AgCredit comes in and they'll hand you out where you need to get the equipment. But it's definitely some time and labor. So it's not free fertilizer, but it's definitely a better value than going to buy commercial.

 

Libby Wixtead (13:25):So have you changed any crop rotation of adding wheat and because you guys do have to spread manure during the summer?

 

Nathan Schroeder (13:33):So when we started, we did some in the summer and some in the fall, maybe like half and half. And then we got to the point where weather was getting kind of tougher in the fall. So we decidedwe're going to try to do 90 to a hundred percent in the summer. We increased a little bit of our wheat acreage, we started spreading, or top-dressing, our wheat in the spring when we can. And that takes care of the bulk of our manure. Now we have the ability, if the weather's good, we can spread some in the fall. If we don't spread any in the fall, we're good. We're good till the next summer.

 

Libby Wixtead (14:10):You just have to figure out your program, I guess, of how you're going to do your manure if you're going to spread it on your own farm.

 

Nathan Schroeder (14:17):Right. And once you get your crop rotation, figure it out in your soil sampling and figure out what manure is going where. And like I said, whatever's left, there's an abundance of neighbors that knock on your door. Saying-

 

Libby Wixtead (14:31):Yes. I know that.

 

Nathan Schroeder (14:32):Can I get it at a discount?

 

Libby Wixtead (14:32):Yes, I know there'll be several people if you do decide to put up a contract barn that'll ask for it because it is a lot cheaper source of fertilizer.

 

Nathan Schroeder (14:42):Yes. And they see it, and you can offer them the right price, especially if you've got real close fields, and it makes life a lot easier. So they see the value in it.

 

Libby Wixtead (14:48):Yeah. So, what other benefits do you see?

 

Nathan Schroeder (14:54):Probably, and it sounds kind of corny, but the biggest benefit that I'm seeing off it is it's bringing the families home to farm. It's bringing everybody together, the kids are in there working. That's the biggest benefit to me. I mean it sounds kind of get off the money side of things and the fertilizer side of things, but that means more than I think a lot of things.

 

Libby Wixtead (15:13):Well, and we see at AgCredit, we see a lot of you guys putting up barns so you guys can come back in the operation because it gives you guys something to do where you're adding income at some point after your loan starts to get paid down, adding that income back into the farm and you're kind of finding your place to be able to support you coming back. Eventually having that job and coming back. But like you said, our kids are always in the barn. We just got little pigs in our barn, and they love it, and I just can't wait till the day where my kids are like, "No, I don't want to go in the barn," where they love it now. But it is, it's something that you can raise your family on and pass it down to the next generation to have.

 

Nathan Schroeder (15:55):And that day will come when your kids say, "No, I'm not going." And you got to let them do their thing at a certain time. You can't force them to do it when they get older. We're going through that with my boy now. He's getting older, and I said, do what you want to do. Don't do what your old man's telling you to do.

 

Libby Wixtead (16:11):Those darn redheads, I'm telling you. So, what challenges do you face as a contract grower?

 

Nathan Schroeder (16:21):You always have to remember you're married to this thing. We're lucky we havepeople that can help us between my brother and Luke, but whether you're sick, not feeling good, the weather's crappy out, it doesn't matter. You're going to the barn a couple of times a day. Vacations and you have to plan accordingly. You have to have somebody you can trust to come into that barn, be ready to wake up at two, three in the morning when the hog barns call because it will happen.

 

Libby Wixtead (16:52):On Christmas morning, right?

 

Nathan Schroeder (16:53):On Christmas morning. Yep. It will happen. And you got to go do what you got to do. It's just part of it. It's a tough thing to get used to, but once you get used to that, you're fine. Just making sure you have enough help to do a good job in there. It's a challenge, but you can work through it.

 

Libby Wixtead (17:12):So how does your integrator help you work through some of the challenges that you do face, maybe with disease and things like that that come through?

 

Nathan Schroeder (17:20):So definitely a lot of advice. If there's something in there that doesn't look right, say, "Hey, I'm not sure what this is," but in a heartbeat, they'll have one of their guys out here, and we'll walk through, and if we're still not sure, their vet comes out and then we'll get samples done, we'll do whatever it takes to do to figure out what's going on. And then, obviously whatever it takes to fix the problem.

 

Libby Wixtead (17:42):So they're helping provide the medication, showing you guys how to do all of that or taking care of it and just helping you through and supporting you through the whole entire process.

 

Nathan Schroeder (17:51):Yeah, they're definitely there backing you up. And there's a PQA certification that everybody in Ohio that raises animals goes through and PQA is just simply a pork quality assurance, and that simply means that that's a mandated task that you haveto pass and perform. It teaches you how to care for animals and humanely care for animals, medications, and how to treat them right. A lot of medications get a bad name, but if your child's sick or if you're sick, you're going to go take care of them. We're not just medicating and medicating.

 

(18:29):We medicate the sick pigs, and we segregate them into a separate pen so we can keep track of them. We have very strict withdrawal dates to go through, and it's a very strict guideline that we follow on that. We get audited from the federal side of the world here, and your paperwork best be in order. And I would say most everybody's paperwork, they understand what we're doing. Most everybody's paperwork is very nice and in order. They understand the importance of who needs medicated, what to medicate them with. And if I don't know, I'm going to call my integrator and say, "Hey, what do I do?"

 

Libby Wixtead (19:11):Right. Yeah. Regardless of what integrator you use, that's the support that you have is they're there too, because they want the pigs to do well, too. And they're not going to  leave you on your own little island.

 

Nathan Schroeder (19:24):No. They want the best for the pigs. You want the best for the pigs. And everybody's on the same team here to get just a nice, healthy, happy quality pork product on the shelves.

 

Libby Wixtead (19:39):So you just heard it from one of your board members from the Ohio Pork Council, and I guess leading with that, that was a great explanation of how the integrators support the growers. And so can you tell us a little bit about Ohio Pork and what your role is as a board member?

 

Nathan Schroeder (19:57):I am on the board of directors. I've been Ohio Pork's treasurer for a couple of years leading my way to hopefully be president if I'm elected. Our duties at Ohio Pork for any pork grower in the state, one, we're here. We have a great team of people down in the office, probably one of the best I've seen since I've been on the board. They've worked together very well. They're all here to help you guys. So, if there are any questions on anything with pork, what do I do? How do I do this? How do I cook something?

 

(20:30):Where do I find something? Call down to the office, they'll help you. If they don't have the answer, you'll get the answer from them. But we're here, we manage the checkoff money, the voluntary SIP investments that our integrators put into. We funnel them to different programs, and one of our main goals here is to promote pork. We want to grow, and we want to show the state we have a healthy quality pork product here on the shelf.

 

(21:04):We want our customers to be reassured that we're taking care of our animals. That's one of the main jobs that we do there. Now we also legislate, we're at the state house, here in another three weeks. We'll be lobbying down in DC. We'll go talk to our leaders, say, "Hey, this is our concern. This is what we have. What can you do?" Now I understand it takes so much time down there, and everything's so slow, but we're here with our voice. If we're not there with our voice, who's talking up for us? All you hear is the people on the other side talking down on you.

 

Libby Wixtead (21:39):Share your story.

 

Nathan Schroeder (21:40):Share your story, and anybody, call your representative, share your story. Believe it or not, they do care. They do listen.

 

Libby Wixtead (21:48):Right. Yes. So I also want to ask, how did AgCredit help you in all of your operations of putting up the finishing barn and nursery and supporting you, I guess through Ohio Pork as well?

 

Nathan Schroeder (22:09):So Dad and Grandpa, before it was our turn, had always done business with AgCredit, and obviously, it was just a natural progression for me to go do business. I knew them, they knew me. And I remember when I first sat down with them after the organization of the farm and getting things going and getting the line of credit started for that. It was a year or two later and I said, "Hey, I need 1.1 million to do this." And "Oh, okay." But I had, and God bless Kathy, she's not there anymore, but she always gave me credit for that. I had a business plan laid out, I had cash flows laid out.

 

(22:54):I spent a lot of time making sure my ducks were in a row and had every piece of paper that I could. That made it definitely easier. So the effort that you put in at home, say, I don't know what to do. I never made a cash flow before. I never made a business plan, but I had some common sense and said, "Let's figure this out to every last penny." But I had quotes from everybody and this and that, and I had the contracts from our integrators, and it was kind of a long process. I don't want to say it was a really hard process, but it just took time. And we worked through the hurdles and stuff, and I got Heather now over there, and she's happy to deal with me too.

 

Libby Wixtead (23:37):I think a key thing you emphasized there was having the business plan and the cash flow. Because what you did with that was you painted the picture of where you guys are wanting to go with your goals and everything like that. And that is so important when you're going to your lender and asking for whatever that number was, $1.1 million. That's a lot of money.

 

Nathan Schroeder (24:01):That's a lot of money. And a few years later, we asked for another million, and another million.

 

Libby Wixtead (24:03):And so painting that picture really helps the lender understand what your goals are and what you want to do rather than just coming in and just saying, "Well, this is what I want to do." Well, have you put the thought into it?

 

Nathan Schroeder (24:14):Right. Have a 10-year plan. I mean that's what I started off with. We had a 10-year goal of what we wanted to see.

 

Libby Wixtead (24:21):Was four hog barns in that?

 

Nathan Schroeder (24:23):Believe it or not. Yeah, four hog barns were in it.

 

Libby Wixtead (24:27):That's exciting.

 

Nathan Schroeder (24:29):But yeah, we had a very informal business plan. It was written on my little whiteboard in the old office, but we had something, we had an idea, and we had a direction we wanted to go to. And like you said, you show your lender that, don't let them figure out how to do it. You got to figure it out and show them this is what we want to do, this is the steps we want to do. How can you help me get the money to do it?

 

Libby Wixtead (24:53):Right.

 

Nathan Schroeder (24:54):It's so much easier to do it that way and have that relationship with your lender.

 

Libby Wixtead (24:59):Well, and we want to be a business partner. We don't want to be yes or no; we want to be a business partner, and we want to sit there at the table beside you, not across from the table like we are right now, but we just want to be that business partner and sit beside you. So lastly, here, what would be the tips you would give someone who is exploring contract growing?

 

Nathan Schroeder (25:24):Don't just do it on a whim. Take some time and think. Like I said, we spent, I probably spent a year, we all spent probably a year once the idea happened to really say, yeah, we're going to do this. And then another year after that till it all came to fruition and took some time. Talk to your wife, you're married, talk to your wife.

 

Libby Wixtead (25:46):Yes.

 

Nathan Schroeder (25:47):God bless Mariah. I kind of told her about it, and she really knew it when I brought the note home to sign, and she knew it was serious. So God bless her. She puts up with a lot here, especially from being in town. She came from town then for me renting farm out to, yeah, we're putting hogs in now and getting all the farm back and-

 

Libby Wixtead (26:12):And I'm quitting my job.

 

Nathan Schroeder (26:13):And I'm quitting my job. By the way, can you get a job and get insurance?

 

Libby Wixtead (26:18):Oh yeah. It's a big deal.

 

Nathan Schroeder (26:19):She was only part-time back then and she was having fun, but she had the desire, she wanted something more. So, I just helped her out a little bit.

 

Libby Wixtead (26:26):There you go.

 

Nathan Schroeder (26:27):But no, God bless her. She's been behind me a hundred percent. And knock on wood, she hasn't left me yet.

 

Libby Wixtead (26:36):Yeah, okay. And I said that in the last one, but I do have one last final question that I like to ask all of my podcast guests. You kind of went off the tips, but just in general, what advice would you give young beginning farmers?

 

Nathan Schroeder (26:51):Just do it. If you're thinking about doing it, like I said, plan for it. But if you're thinking about doing it, do it.

 

Libby Wixtead (27:00):Figure it out.

 

Nathan Schroeder (27:00):Yeah, figure it out. If you fail, you fail. But I can guarantee you're going to be more happier in 20 years saying, "I did it, I screwed up, I failed, didn't work," versus saying, "God, I wish I did that." So, plan for bad times, not good times. The last, I don't know how many years here now, five years or more, we've had pretty fair prices and really good yields. I try to base my projections on the farm on, yeah, remember when that corn did 150, and it was $4? Let's look at that. Don't overextend yourself. You don't have to have a fancy new tractor to do this. Run the old equipment until some things get paid off. Maybe have a down payment for a farm one day, then start building upon that. So just try to think out ten years from now what you're doing, and if that's what you want to do, just do it.

 

Libby Wixtead (27:57):All right, well, thank you, Nathan. I am so glad you were able to be with us today and be our podcast guest, and we appreciate your time.

 

Nathan Schroeder (28:06):Well, thank you.

 

Libby Wixtead (28:07):You're welcome. And also, I just want to let all of our listeners know that AgCredit can help you finance your dream of becoming a contract grower. Talk to your AgCredit loan officer or visit agcredit.net for more information on how we can get you started today. Remember all the resources will be available in the show notes. So we'll have a link for Ohio Pork Council, and we can have a list of integrators that are within our territory. And also remember, if you like what you heard, please leave us a comment and subscribe to the show, and we'll see you next time on AgCredit Said It.

 

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