First Generation Farms
VALOR IV class recently had their national trip to include stops in Georgia and South Carolina. Thanks to Dr. Laura Griffeth and Kirby Player for their efforts in ensuring plenty of interesting Agriculture visits. One thing that struck me was the number of operations that we visited that were first generation operations. Some large and some small, but still a first-generation operation. In today’s world we often say that it is impossible to start your own operation because of the investment it takes to get started. Here are a few examples from our national trip that has defied all odds.
Yon Family Farms
Kevin and Lydia Yon are the true American tale of working hard and creating an agriculture enterprise through sheer determination. Kevin and Lydia started out working for a seedstock operation and using their equity in that operation to create and grow their own operation in Ridge Spring, SC. Today their operation widely known for their superior quality seedstock animals as well as their customer service.
Happy Cow Creamery
Tom Trantham had a desire to operate his own dairy and he saw his dream through. Tom and his wife Marilyn have a loyal following for their milk on a regional basis. Tom touts his grazing program as the success of his operation but I think it is his tenacity that should be touted for their family’s success. Now with a second generation coming aboard his legacy will continue.
White Hills Farms
Lavender does not hit most people’s radar as being an agriculture venture, but Amy Sutter could tell you differently. Amy purchased a lavender operation a few years ago and has created quite the following. She sells at farmer’s markets and hosts events at her farm to ensure the following gains interest. I was quite shocked at what all you can do with lavender.
Jon Jackson, a retired soldier, has a first-generation farm with a bigger purpose. Jon started his farm to be a refuge for veterans suffering from PTSD. Jon has a variety of agriculture ventures ranging from rabbits and aquaponics to heritage breed hogs and greenhouses. Jon’s mission is the reason for the farm and the mission is worthwhile. Jon is to be commended on his efforts
Nine Twenty Cattle and Company
Jarrod and Becca Creasy are first generation farmers who’s determination is only shadowed by their hard work. Jarrod and Becca have several thriving enterprises from fence building and custom hay operations to cattle and value added processing. They have a unique combination of brains and grit that should inspire any aspiring farmer
This is just a sample of what today’s first generation farmers look like. We always put so much pride in operations that have been around for many generations, but these first generation farms should be held to the same standard because they too will be around for many generations.