Off-Farm Income


Introducing Cole Searle! 

I interview a lot of young men and women on this show who are devoted to agriculture.  These days you hear so much about kids not wanting to take over farms or continue that lifestyle that when a student who is passionate about agriculture comes on the show you wonder what their parents did to help them love this life?

Of course, on this show, I reach out to many of the highest achievers in the FFA.  Therefore, they are a self-selecting group.  Students who love farming and agriculture and are passionate about what they are doing, naturally find their way to the top levels of the FFA.  And, so I spend a lot of time talking to students who love this life and want to stay part of it.

Even though that is the case, I always wonder what was it that sparked the passion in these students, and how could we spread it to even more youth in the U.S.  It is probably a percentage thing, and even though it seems to me that all of them are this passionate, I am speaking to a very small percentage.

In today's interview, I get to speak with Cole Searle.  Cole is the 2020 Idaho State Star Farmer, an Idaho State Star winner, and was a National Proficiency finalist this year.  In his short-term vision, he is looking at an American Degree as well as becoming the National Star Farmer.  In his long-term vision, he is looking at a career in agriculture, especially working with cattle and horses.

Cole is another one of these students where I wonder what did his parents do, or what event took place in his life that made him fall in love with farming.  And, how do we spread that around?  Cole has grown up around farming with his father managing several farms from Washington State all the way over to Ashton, Idaho where they have been for the past ten years.

I know a little bit about where Cole lives and farms.  I used to drive through Ashton several times per year on my way to and from college in Bozeman, Montana.  And for the past five years, my daughter and I have taken a father/daughter trip every October and gone through Ashton on our way to Yellowstone National Park.

In Cole's case, I think I can solve a little bit of the mystery of what his parents did to inspire him to be so passionate about farming.  The answer is, they moved to Ashton.  I can visualize Cole out on the farm on a crisp, June morning, driving a tractor or irrigating.  And as the sun is coming up, there is something casting a long shadow over him.  That something is the peaks of the Grand Tetons.

Ashton sits in a fertile valley, to the west of the Grand Tetons and the Wyoming/Idaho border.  When you drive through Ashton you cannot help but pull over and take in the majesty of these unbelievable mountains.  These are the most identifiable peaks in the Rockies, and they are right outside Cole's back door.

I can absolutely see where Cole is coming from.  Growing up in a peaceful valley, working outside, and staring at his mountain range on a daily basis is definitely a recipe for contentment and passion!