Jerrel and Jen Brubaker raise hogs and chickens, as well as corn and soybeans at Buffalo Valley Farms in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Jen said jokingly, “Someone recently told us that we should rename the farm ‘Chicken Bacon Ranch.’”
The decision to farm was easy
Jerrel grew up on the farm and it’s all he’s ever really known. As a young person, he remembers being mesmerized by all the farm equipment, watching it work through the fields and learning about how it functioned. He also remembers how even the smell of being on the farm during different seasons brought him joy. Today, those smells continually remind him of why he made the decision to stay on the farm. “I loved the smell of the grain being dried in the fall, and I enjoyed the smell of turned dirt in the spring,” he said.
All of these memories flooded into Jerrel's mind when his dad asked him if he wanted to farm or if he wanted to do something else, making it a pretty easy decision for him to say, “Yeah, absolutely. I want to farm.”
Good times and bad
While Jerrel loves his life on the farm, it hasn’t always been easy. In the early 1990s, the hog markets were struggling, and Jerrel had to have a tough conversation with his brother and dad about what they wanted to do with the business. At the time, it seemed they had two choices: get in and get big or get out and do something different. Feeling strongly that they weren’t ready to give up farming, they had to figure out a way to expand the business in order to stay viable. That’s when they learned about Horizon Farm Credit.
“It was our first introduction to Horizon,” Jerrel said. “And quite honestly, my loan officer. And she was great through all of it, really had a lot of answers for me.”
In addition to helping the Brubakers manage their finances and determine next steps, Jen remembers what a positive relationship they had with their loan officer. “It felt personal and it felt like our loan officer wanted us to succeed,” she said. “It wasn't just about her doing her job. She went above and beyond for us.”
As Jerrel and Jen think about the future of their farm, they have dreams of passing it down to their children. And just as one passes down the land upon which the crops are grown and the hogs are fed, Jerrel and Jen hope to pass down their relationship with Horizon as well.
“We will definitely encourage our son, if he chooses to farm, or either of our daughters, to use Horizon, because they've been so beneficial for us,” Jen said.