A Skipped Generation Farmer
February 8, 2022
Mitchell Hinds, FreshRoots Directors Cup recipient of Macon County at age 26, has a unique farming trait – he is a skip generation farmer. While both of his parents grew up around agriculture, neither of them actively farmed themselves. Mitchell slowly took over his grandfather’s farm at a young age and is entering his seventh year of farming independently.
“It was quite an opportunity I got at a young age. I took off running but had to approach it differently than most people my age who actively farm with a family member. I leaned on a network of people outside my family,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell established multiple networks through his extensive community involvement. Alongside farming, Mitchell is his township’s road commissioner. He serves residents and farmers by managing local road maintenance and construction, allowing him to interact with local farmers who he admired while growing up.
He also volunteers with several organizations, including the Macon County Farm Bureau and Mt. Pulaski FFA Alumni. Mitchell appreciates the opportunity to voice his support of agriculture, along with developing relationships.
Mitchell’s involvement in the FreshRoots program opened several doors to connect with peers and seek advice. He embraced continuous education opportunities at FCI one-day workshops and the FreshRoots Retreat.
“Farm Credit meetings are a great place for me to build relationships with other young farmers who are experiencing the same challenges as me. I get feedback from farmers with a younger and more modern perspective,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell recalled the learning programs to be especially rewarding in terms of professional development as well. According to Mitchell, one of his biggest struggles as a young skip-generation farmer was overcoming his own naivety.
“When I took over the operation, I continued doing things the way my grandfather had. I didn’t have any risk mitigation plans in place until I attended a few Farm Credit College programs. I established a grain marketing plan and now update my financials on a regular basis,” said Mitchell.
While taking over his family’s operation as the sole owner and operator came with a non-traditional set of circumstances and hardships, it also provided him with a unique opportunity to learn from others. And thanks to the diverse network of connections he established in his community and beyond, he now farms independently with confidence.