Our big goal: Giving back to veterans

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm It’s that time of year— a new year, new goals. For many entrepreneurs, the end of one year and the beginning of the next is a time to reflect and clarify goals. What have we accomplished? Where are we headed? What’s the best way to get there? A quick recap of 2015 Willow Springs Farm has developed from a 24-page business plan to an actual farm. This time last year, I recall telling my husband that, “if... Read More

Our farm is debt free … but that wasn’t the plan

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm Like many startups, my farm’s business plan has been tweaked a time or two. Initially, I wanted to start a commercial cow-calf operation, but I was unable to secure the financing necessary to get it off the ground. So instead I decided to explore a grass-fed beef operation and direct marketing opportunities, which offered lower startup costs plus higher profit margins. The downside was, the production cycle... Read More

Capital: the high cost of getting started – BOOTSTRAP AT WILLOW SPRINGS FARM

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm A neighboring farmer likes to joke, “You know how you make a million dollars as a farmer? Start out with two million!” While my comedic neighbor’s joke isn’t accurate, farming does take a LOT of money just to get the ball rolling. Start-up costs for a small-scale agriculture operation can quickly get into six or seven figures. Land, equipment, operating capitol, property improvement, livestock, seeds—it... Read More

Top 5 Things You Should Know About Farming

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm There are pros and cons to every endeavor, and farming is no exception. As a first-generation farmer, I did not have ancestral insight into the world of agriculture; the majority of my education came via trial and error. Looking back on my experiences thus far, here are the top five things I think new farmers should know: Farming is expensive I’d always heard, “it takes money to make money”—well this... Read More

I wanted to be a cowgirl – Bootstrap at Willow Springs Farm

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm One of my earliest memories is sitting on an old Paint gelding outside of Memphis, Tennessee. I couldn’t have been more than three or four, but from that moment on I was obsessed with becoming a “cowgirl”. Despite growing up on quarter-acre lots in suburbia, where the only cows I saw were on old Bonanza reruns, my passion to own my own cattle operation never wavered. Completely ignorant of all things agriculture,... Read More

Introducing Firefly Meadows of Fairfield, NE

Mike and Rita Brhel’s just over five acres might be small in size but it’s big in dreams. Firefly Meadows features a farm-fresh chicken and duck egg business, a pasture-based sheep operation, and a vegetable garden with spring, summer, and fall plantings. There are plans to add meat goats, pigeons, and an orchard. Both Mike and Rita grew up on farms – Mike on a diversified livestock and crop operation southwest of Lincoln, NE, and Rita on a... Read More