Location: SCR 357
Experience as a Young and Beginning Farmer
YOUNG AND BEGINNING FARMERS
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10:06 AM -- Experience as a Young and Beginning Farmer
Nate Weathers, representing Colorado Farm Bureau and Weathers Farms, stated that he is a fourth generation farmer and discussed his experience as a farmer. He explained the obstacles that farmers face and the benefits of new and developing technology for the agriculture industry. Mr. Weathers discussed succession plans and tax incentives. He stated he would utilize interns, but probably only for about 30 to 40 days a year and mostly during the stock show season. Mr. Weathers discussed the cost of hiring an employee, including workers' compensation insurance, housing, and health insurance.
Mr. Weathers responded to questions about the involvement of his siblings with Weathers Farms. He explained that because of estate planning, family members are seen as employees, not owners. Mr. Weathers explained that he runs his own business entity, but benefits from the availability of his parent's equipment, rather than having to purchase new equipment. Mr. Weathers discussed the lack of land access for new farmers, and the process of bidding on land when new farmers enter the industry. Mr. Weathers responded to questions regarding the availability and cost of equipment for new farmers. Mr. Weathers stated that the biggest obstacle for farmers in his opinion is access to equipment.
Mr. Weathers responded to questions from the committee regarding the value and cost of farm equipment. He discussed equipment costs, including costs for specific attachments for certain crops and equipment repairs. Mr. Weathers responded to questions from the committee regarding how new farmers access equipment. He explained custom farming to the committee, which is when a farmer agrees to use his or her equipment to perform the machine operations on another farmer's land in exchange for a set fee or rate. He discussed how it allows one farmer to have additional income and saves equipment costs for the other. In response to a question, Mr. Weathers stated that because it less cost effective to diversify crops, many farmers and ranchers are specializing in one crop.
Mr. Weathers responded to questions regarding the cost of land, specifically the cost of irrigated farmland, with the irrigation equipment attached. Mr. Weathers discussed the average cost of sprinklers and the cost of installing irrigation equipment that is more efficient. Mr. Weathers discussed the effect of crops on the soil and how diversification of crops can benefit soil. The committee discussed soil health.