Changing Fields: Cross-country move spurs Minn. man on unexpected journey from desk job to first-gen farmer

A cross-country move to Virginia spurred Matt Fimon from his comfortable corporate job in Minnesota on a new journey as a first-generation farmer. Now, we learn how he is advocating for the unsung heroes of agriculture.

Farmer Matt Fimon’s unexpected transition from a beloved corporate desk job in Minnesota to forging a new path among the vast farmlands of Virginia is a journey that is both inspiring and transformative.

Fimon’s life took a drastic turn when love led him on a cross-country move to Virginia. There, his wife’s connection to a family farm became the catalyst for a major life change.

“People ask me all the time, ‘Matt, why did you move from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Virginia?’” He humorously recounts. “And I always say: “‘If you met my wife, you would understand.’”

At 27, he dove headfirst into the world of agriculture despite not having any previous farming experience. Now, just eight years later, at 35, he manages a family farm spanning over 1,500 acres. The farm engages in traditional cattle operations, hay production, timber, hair sheep husbandry, and on-farm processing and distribution of pastured poultry.

While the transition presented its challenges, he now views his decision as a critical opportunity for self-discovery. As he shares openly, the challenge of refining his identity while also learning everything he could about farming and agriculture was not an easy one.

“When I moved here from Minnesota, married my wife, and started a family — I had an identity back home, and it changed,” Fimon said. “I had to find a new identity, and that made for a rough patch the first year of marriage.”

However, he says, a major turning point for him was when he began to witness the dedication of other farmers across the state through his growing involvement with the Virginia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher program. At the same time, his membership helped foster new friendships and encouragement for him to take on leadership roles within the VFBF.

“I saw all of these phenomenal people, and what it is they do day in and day out, and I started having those conversations, and they pushed me to be more involved,” he said.

He also acknowledges how the chance to learn existing practices from more seasoned farmers and how to complement them was critical to his success as a new farmer.

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