Young Farmer Learns to Embrace Change While Diversifying Business
October 08, 2018
I've always loved farming," said Adam Bollinger. "I wore the knees out of my pants farming with toys in my yard as a kid."
Eventually, the young Lancaster County farmer’s aspirations became bigger than backyard toys. Adam worked for five neighboring farmers throughout high school and, after graduation, spent a year with an excavator, running bulldozers. "That year I discovered that I needed variety, and I missed farming," he said.
With the help of his parents, Adam began a custom baling business. He purchased a baler and rented a tractor from his dad. "We grew the business enough to need two balers, while also farming my own rented ground," he remembered.
In 2007, Adam and his wife, Rachel, wanted to expand their farming operation, looking for opportunities beyond Lancaster County. Two years later, they started farming in Montour County, renting a farm the following year.
"We rented that farm for four years and, unexpectedly, it went up for sale in 2013," said Adam. "It wasn’t the right farm for us to buy. We poured our hearts out to the Lord. We didn’t know what to do."
A friend told the couple about a 95-acre farm for sale in Northumberland County that did meet their needs.
"We chose AgChoice to purchase the farm because I felt they understood farming," Adam explained. "Other banks didn’t think our plan would work. I appreciated AgChoice’s willingness to help make our dreams come true."
Today, with hard work, Adam’s farming dream is a diverse business. Together with Rachel, daughter, Katie, two full-time employees and seasonal part-time employees, he grows corn, soybeans, hay, wheat and rye on his farm and local rented acres. He also finishes a small cow and calf herd selling freezer beef. A Hubner seed dealer, his other business units include custom farming (large square baling, planting, combining and vertical tillage), lime and shavings sales and brokering/spreading chicken litter.
"I think Adam’s been successful because his diversification isn’t outside the realm of his core business," Josh Bradley, AgChoice loan officer, said. "For example, Adam can use the same equipment across the various segments, allowing for equipment efficiency."
Adam says he experiences equipment savings by waiting on God’s timing for quality used equipment purchases. "If needed, we can keep rebuilding our equipment, and I enjoy going to farm sales to look for bargains," he shared.
For business efficiency, Adam and Rachel moved their accounting and crop insurance to AgChoice. "I like the convenience of having the services in the same office," explained Adam. "If my accounting officer, Mary, has a question, she talks to Josh and vice versa. They don’t always need to call me." Mary also helped Adam organize and form Brook Hollow Farm, LLC this year.
Education is important to Adam as he looks to embrace industry change. He enjoys learning from other farmers at meetings and gains ideas to improve his business by attending AgChoice’s Ag Forums and local grain meetings.
"I listen to farm reports such as AgriTalk and AgDay to follow the markets," he said.
"When I was younger, I hated when people changed their plans," Adam recalled. "I’ve learned it’s important to accept change. With the right attitude toward change, it can be for the good."
In reflecting on his farming journey, Adam credits the older generation for giving him a chance to start farming. "I appreciate the people who allowed me to rent land when I was young," he recalled. "I am thankful to the Lord, supportive wife, my parents, family and friends for helping me get where I am today."