Farming as a Second Career – Secrets From Folks Who Made the Switch

Thanks to Suzy Hodgson of UVM Extension's New Farmer Project for this story! On average, people change careers three times in their lifetimes, and that’s not counting about ten different jobs across those careers. Whether through choice or circumstance, people are on the move to different employment opportunities, and it’s not surprising to find a number of people starting out in farming after abandoning a completely different career path. Do these new older farmers have a head start based on prior work experience?Or, do they have lots of catching up to do having spent no time on a farm and too much time in an office? We posed these questions to several second career farmers and also asked what advice they’d give to those starting out farming later in life. Jon Turner started out in the military and as a marine served three tours of duty. Returning home, he first found solace and meaning in writing and then turned to farming which he describes as “more of a way of life rather than a career.” What skills and experience from the military did Jon find helpful for his new life in farming? A good farmer has a healthy relationship with their land and is capable of recognizing patterns both good and bad. Being in the military forced me to develop an understanding of situational awareness and attention to detail.  As a marine in combat, these two factors co

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