Brian Baker, a proud 1996 Texas Tech graduate with a degree in Agricultural Economics, once swore he’d never go into the farming business he’d witnessed – and been a part of – for three generations before him.
Never say never. Baker is now proud to be the fourth generation of a farming family.
Sudan, and the area around it, is the land his family has known and farmed since his great-grandfather. He grew up learning the business – the rewards and the losses – throughout his life.
Today, he carries the torch of farming, and sings the praises of being part of cooperatives. As one of the 46 grower-owners at last month’s Co-operative Producer Orientation, Baker said while he knew a lot about being a grower-owner, the orientation gave him even greater insight into just how much it truly means.
“I learned long ago that being part of a co-op is always beneficial. But the thing that really resonated with me (at the orientation) is the large number of people that are involved to help after everything leaves my field. It’s huge.”
Baker reflected on the many lessons he learned from his grandfather, in particular, that pertain to being a farmer. Mainly, the importance of being patient and being a good steward of the land.
“The same is true when it comes to being a part of a cooperative. If there’s one thing I could pass along; it’s to understand patience. There will be a wait … but that wait is to maximize your benefit. Just like any farmer has to know the patience and ‘wait’ for a harvest.”
Once sworn to not enter the business of his forefathers, Baker is now a leader – hoping future generations do enter the business.
“I hope farmers are encouraging their children to keep farming in the family. That’s how it needs to be. And, for those who are just starting, and even those who have been in it for years, it’s so important to keep up with technology and to keep up with the times.”
Baker encouraged other grower-owners to get to know their co-ops better so they can learn more about how they can benefit every farmer long-term.
“Co-ops allow me to do my job, which is to take care of my crop. Co-ops help with all other things. Through it all, I’m getting the most I can get – and my money is ultimately coming back.”
Baker knows that is The Co-op Advantage®.