Farm Family: David and Becky Richesin
Farm Location: Philadelphia in Loudon County
Crops: 1,650 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans
Farm Legacy: David represents the fourth generation, with three sons (Jacob, Andrew and Isaac) that are the fifth. Prior to becoming a grain operation, the Richesins ran a dairy that was in operation for more than 75 years.
Farm Bureau Membership: 22 years for David, 26 years for Becky
What about farming makes you proud?
I am grateful and humbled with the opportunity to be able to have an occupation I really enjoy and that allows me to work side by side with my family. God has blessed us with that opportunity, and I give Him the glory for the success we’ve had and what we have tried to accomplish.
What is your biggest challenge?
My top three challenges are planning, marketing and delegating. I know how to market, but just [learning to be] satisfied when the price goes up the day after you market your crop. And there is stress in planning – did you order the right seed varieties, crop rotations, building grain bin structures, facility layouts, etc.?
The weather is always a challenge, but yet I am glad because it keeps you humble and dependent upon the Lord. We can do everything correctly – we can plant on time, have the proper fertilization program, great weed management/weed control – and still fail because of weather. Too much rain, not enough water, too much wind.
In our area, unlike West Tennessee, there are no river ports or elevators for farmers to market, so we have a granary and drier system where we dry and store all of our grain. Some years, if we are blessed with a good harvest, we run close on storage and have to truck some to [grain] elevators long distances away, as well. In addition to trying to work many hours a day during harvest, I try to also spend that time behind the steering wheel planning and thinking about next year’s rotation and variety selection.
Why should young farmers include leadership development in their lives?
Becky and I both come from strong Farm Bureau families (third generation on both sides). We owe Farm Bureau for providing an East Tennessee dairy farmer with the opportunity to meet a West Tennessee cotton farmer. We met at a young farmer conference in 1990 while playing a futures commodity game, and the rest is history. Leadership development for young people, especially young farmers, is vital. With fewer and fewer farmers in the agriculture industry, it’s more crucial than ever for the next generation to be strong leaders, capable of standing firm on the difficult issues we face.
Is it important to advocate for agriculture?
Educating others, especially future decision-makers, with positive information about the agriculture industry will help them to better understand our complex industry and its economic impact on local communities.
What advice would you give someone interested in agriculture today?
Get a good college education; be flexible and stay away from new paint (purchases, equipment, etc.). Rewards are plenty and success is not necessarily measured monetarily.