Monday, 1 December 2014

From Scientist to Farmer, Today’s Agriculture Producers Come from All Walks of Life

In the past, full-time farmers were the norm and children of farmers followed in their parent’s footsteps. That’s not the case today. Now, data from the Census of Agriculture show more than half of Florida’s principal farm operators report primary occupations other than farming.
Richard McGinley is a good example of today’s Florida farmer. He spent his early years living the city life until his dad moved the family to Ocala, located in central Florida, to begin farming. But McGinley had other interests that took him far from farming. He established a career in the nuclear industry and even started his own consulting business.
Then his dad became ill and McGinley returned to Ocala to help out on the family’s 950 acre farm. When his dad passed away, McGinley sold his consulting company and took over full-time operations at McGinley Farm.
McGinley is ever the scientist and always researches new and improved ways to farm. He works with local, state and federal agencies to explore ways to modernize his farm while also benefitting the environment. Urban sprawl also has to be considered in his plans since the farm is now surrounded by development.
McGinley’s first step was to call the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, (NRCS) for advice. Jill Dobbs, the NRCS district conservationist, worked with him to evaluate and determine what he was doing well and what needed attention on his farm. They also explored financial assistance opportunities through the agency.

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