Smyth County, Virginia
Seth Umbarger grew up working on the family dairy farm alongside his dad and granddad. Then he met Courtney. A few years before getting married, she turned to Seth and his dad and said, “We should sell beef from the farm!” The two dairy farmers looked back at her and scoffed.
Now, if one were to ask what the Umbargers are producing, Courtney would tell you, “We sell beef from the farm now and it’s been really great!” Even Seth and his dad have enjoyed learning a new business.
While Seth is a 5th generation farmer, Courtney is a beginner. “I wanted to be able to give the kids the experiences that I didn’t have. I wanted to be beside them, work with them and show them how to be good stewards of the land. I wanted to teach them what different animals do for us and where our food comes from,” she said.
Seth and Courtney chose Farm Credit as their lender because of its structure as a cooperative. “What’s different about Farm Credit is the way they are set up as a co-op and provide patronage dividends. So the money they make is returned to shareholders. I like to see outfits like that do well because you know the profits are going to come back to you,” said Seth.
As young farmers, the Umbargers are graduates of the Ag Biz Planning Program out of Farm Credit of the Virginia’s Knowledge Center. Ag Biz provides a space for young farmers to connect and learn financial and business management skills. Courtney said, “The Knowledge Center has been really beneficial to us and the program has been fantastic. There are so many free workshops that are put on for us that expand our minds.”