“Farming isn’t just a business,” said Robert Williams. It’s a lifestyle and it’s a legacy.
Robert, alongside his wife Carleigh, are the third generation of Williamses farming on the family’s land in Richmond, Missouri.
Weathering the Storm
Between volatile international agriculture markets and alternating extreme drought and extreme flooding, the past few years have challenged the Williams family.
“Coming off of last year’s drought, where we didn’t really make a great living, and on top of all the tariff wars, we were hoping this year would make up for that. I’m just not sure if that’s going to happen,” Robert said.
In the spring of 2019, water levels in the Missouri River were frighteningly high. Despite strategic management of local levees and the community’s efforts to sandbag, the river flooded. While the Williams’ farm wasn’t impacted as much as some of their neighbors, excessive rain prevented them from planting as they had planned. The unpredictability of the flood also caused them to live in a constant state of fear for months.
“If our levee would have broken, we would have had to pack up and leave our house. We were constantly on edge, asking ourselves: do we pack up or do we wait? It’s very scary to live like that for so long,” said Carleigh.
Finding a safety-net
The stress of recent years has reminded Robert and Carleigh to be grateful for their crop insurance. “My crop insurance guarantees me I’ll be here next year. We have everything set up so that should there be a total loss, I’ll be able to start again next year,” Robert said.
They have also felt lucky to have FCS Financial on their side. “Farm Credit is a lifesaver. To have the river and the weather like it is, just not knowing how much crop we’re going to produce or what our income is going to be, Stephanie Tyler, our loan officer, has been very helpful in making sure that we’re heading in the right direction and that I’m not getting in a bad situation,” Robert said.
As young farmers thinking about the future, Robert and Carleigh work hard day in and day out to ensure that there will be something to leave behind for their two young children.