La Grande, Oregon
After graduating from the University of Idaho in 1998, Matt Insko wasn’t sure what he would do next. He had a degree in agriculture and a desire to farm, but the question of land access remained. He didn’t have a family farm to go back to and so he started asking around his community for ideas.
Thanks to help from a family friend, Matt met John Cuthbert. After talking with John a week later, “the rest was history,” Matt remembered.
Matt and his wife Melanie have now purchased John’s equipment and lease his farm ground with the opportunity to purchase the business over time, an agreement that provides well for John and his family, while also making land accessible to Matt and Melanie. The farm spans 1,900 acres in the Grande Ronde Valley of eastern Oregon where the Inskos raise grass seed, peppermint, wheat and alfalfa hay.
To Matt, the farm business is a family business. When it comes to decision making on the farm, he said, “First and foremost, I talk to my wife because any decision I make is going to affect the whole family.”
As young and beginning farmers, Matt and Melanie chose to participate in Northwest Farm Credit Services’ AgVision program. AgVision equips young, beginning and small farmers with the financial and leadership skills necessary to manage their own farm businesses. It offers participants less-restrictive underwriting standards, reduced or waived fees, competitive interest rates and access to a mentorship program.
Matt and Melanie’s involvement in AgVision jumpstarted their business. “It allowed Farm Credit to finance him at a level beyond what he would have qualified for normally,” said Mark Coomer, relationship manager at Northwest Farm Credit. “When he graduated from the program, he had enough financial backlog, the earnings and the track record with us that we could start into some purchases of land and equipment.”
The next generation of Insko’s remain top of mind for Matt and Melanie as they build out their business. Matt said, “We want to build this operation so that if our kids do want to come back and be a part of it, they can. But we also want to show them that by having passion and a good work ethic you can be successful in whatever you choose to do.”