With a little bit of courage and help from the Young Farmer Grant Program, one Texas woman is living her dreams
The average age of the American farmer is 58. There are several programs in place to encourage the younger generation to take up agriculture. One Texas woman took advantage of the Young Farmer Grant Program-- this is her story.
“I had a lot of experience. I had been farming for ten years before I bought this property and I felt very confident in my vision and my ability to do this,” Becky Hume states. “I took massive risks and put in a lot of infrastructure just on credit cards, just trusting that I would be able to pay it back and it has worked out well for me but it was really scary and really, really hard.”
Hume did not have a background in agriculture. Her parents were missionaries. She spent most of her childhood overseas.
“I didn’t come from a farming family whatsoever; I actually have a strange story that my parents are missionaries... They both do medical work. My dad did a lot of clinics in various places in China and rural Thailand,” she states. “I just grew up out in rural areas with them and I think I just always saw the connection between health, agriculture, and just the prosperity of nations.”
With the help of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Young Farmer Grant Program, which helps Texas Residents between 18 and 46 years old start or enhance an existing farm, and some good timing of a retiring farmer, her dream to have her own farm came to fruition.
“The funds from the grant were incredibly helpful to just kind of give me the little bit of support and get the capitol and the help that I needed to really jumpstart this farm,” she adds. “Farming is a very capital intensive venture and so for those who don’t come from family land or have a lot of other finances behind us, catapulting us, it’s really hard and scary to get started. It’s been amazing to have that support from the grant and TDA to kind of slingshot me a little bit more quickly than what I could have done by myself.”
For this 31 year old, she is thrilled to be able to take over farmland that could have possibly been developed into something non-ag related, like condos or shopping centers. Hume says that farming may not be for everyone but she would not do anything else.
According to Hume, “Farming is not an antiquated profession, and it’s not a profession for dummies. I think I identify as a farmer but I also identify as an entrepreneur and I think this is an incredible industry to be in and I want to encourage anyone who is interested. Get out here; get dirty with us.”