Colby Gearhart’s Youth Loan from Farm Credit of the Virginias helped him grow his operation while teaching him how to grow it in a financially responsible way.
Youth In Agriculture
Colby Gearhart’s relationship with Farm Credit of the Virgnias as a 15 year-old. Through Farm Credit of the Virginias’ Youth Loan Program, Colby has expanded his operation with an eye toward the future.
Today, Colby’s stocker cattle operation sells 8,000 to 10,000 head of cattle per year. Every Wednesday Colby buys freshly weaned calves from local farmers and prepares them for the feedlot.
“We're taking the calf straight from its mother and growing it. The calves will weigh anywhere from 300 to 700 or 800 pounds, and we will wean them and grow them until they are big enough to send west to a bigger feed lot,” Colby said.
Being the middleman between the producer and feed lot keeps Colby’s focus on the health of the cattle.
“Because you are taking calves from so many different people in different places, you may run into health issues. It is our duty in the cattle industry to get the cattle ready for the next man,” Colby said.
A Helpful Program, A Helpful Start
Colby’s Youth Loan from Farm Credit of the Virginias helped him grow his operation while teaching him how to grow it in a financially responsible way.
“One of the things that I learned with the Youth Loan Program was just the basics of filling out your own financial information, figuring your profit on your cattle and being able to lay that out a piece of paper and show it to your banker ... to prove to them that you're going to be able to pay the money back,” Colby said.
Born To Farm
Colby's parents, Randall and Anne Gearhart, always knew Colby would find his way to farming.
“Colby, our youngest, has been farming since he was three with little tractors. It seemed like he skipped being a kid and went straight to being an adult,” said Anne.
Colby’s parents are especially proud of Colby for starting his operation with a program like the Youth Loan Program.
“I'm a big advocate of this youth program and how it makes youth think. I think it's a great program, and I think it's a great benefit for the kids to be able to fill out their own paperwork, come up with their own game plan, produce projections,” said Randall.
Growing The Operation
After high school, Colby plans to pursue farming full time alongside his family.
“After graduation, I pretty much plan to just continue farming like I am already and continue to grow my operation on a personal standpoint and a family standpoint, and to be able to work together,” Colby said.
Colby also plans to continue working alongside Farm Credit of the Virginias as he grows his operation into the future.
“I do plan, here in the near future, to apply for a line of credit that I can continue to grow my operation. To be able to do business with Farm Credit is something that I look forward to doing for as long as I can do it,” Colby said.