Noah Taylor is a young, independent family farmer raising farrow-to-finish hogs for Niman Ranch. He studied agronomy and animal science in college with the goal of returning home to continue the family farm with his parents. As a family, the Taylors take great pride in farming sustainably. Through their traditional and sustainable farming practices, the Taylor family has provided Noah with the opportunity to follow the family tradition caring for the land and livestock.
Q: What inspired you to study agronomy and animal science in college?
A: My interest in agriculture and my goal to return home to the farm pushed me toward these areas of study that I can use on the farm. Both animal and crop agriculture have always been passions of mine so agronomy and animal science were a natural fit.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of growing up on a farm?
A: The most rewarding part of growing up on a farm is working and learning skills and practices from both my grandparents and parents. Also, one of the most rewarding aspects of farming has to be a farmer’s involvement in the circle of life. In both crops and livestock, there is something special about watching a field sprout and come to life and an animal take its first breath or steps. There is equal gratification that comes from the harvest of those crops and livestock.
Q: As a child, what attracted you to the idea of returning to the farm?
A: I have more or less always known I wanted to be a farmer. The country lifestyle, working with livestock from farrow to finish, growing seeds and reaping the harvest have always been part of the attraction to farm. Being independent and in charge of my own future also were important. On the other hand, market conditions, financial challenges, and the uncertain future of agriculture have always been hard obstacles to overcome when it comes to getting started on the farm and can be discouraging.
Q: What keeps you farming despite these challenges?
A: Farming is in my blood. I’m now the fourth generation to farm the ground we have here in Central Iowa and I am proud to be a part of that next generation. I like the fact that I can wake up every day and face and overcome challenges that happen. The gratification of the success is well worth it.
Q: How did the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship help you achieve your goals?
A: The scholarship helped me focus on my education that has in turn helped me become a more efficient sustainable farmer. Without the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship, I would still be focusing on paying for that education instead of expanding my sow herd and building improvements on the farm.
Q: Why is receiving scholarship assistance especially important for students from a farming background?
A: The scholarship helps take away a lot of the financial stress associated with getting an education. Farming does not have a guaranteed income and not having debt or having less debt from college has been really helpful for my family and for getting loans for projects on the farm.
Q: What is one thing you wish people who are not familiar with farming knew about farming and life on a farm?
A: It’s not always picture perfect. Mother Nature can and will throw an unexpected curve ball at you without warning. Those challenges can cause both emotional and financial headaches. Careers with consistent compensation don’t have the instability that farmers face.