"I'm perfectly content at the size I am, at the size we are."
     [Question:] "Which is?"
     "The two of us. We farm enough. We farm enough."
     [Question:] "You're not going to tell me how many acres?"
     "Do you need to know how many acres?"
     [Question:] "Sure! [Laughs]"
     "But do you have to know?"
     [Question:] "I don't necessarily have to. Would you – How would you rate yourself, rate you guys?"
     "We're a good two-person size operation. We have enough to keep us busy. We have a gentleman that helps us in the fall with harvest – he runs an auger wagon [unloading the harvested crop from the combine] – [but] other than that, it's the two of us. Have we talked about getting bigger? Yeah, we've talked about it. And that's not to say that if something right next to us came up, we wouldn't take it on. But if we go much bigger, then we've got to have a hired man, and you have to find things for him to do in the winter because nobody wants to work for just the summer months…
     "But on the other hand, I watch some neighbor's and they are great! And they are great at what they do. And they continue to grow and that's fine for them. That's what they want. I just, we just personally don't want that. If you do want it, fine go out there and get it. And do it. There are, there are problems that are caused with getting bigger. Property valuations. The little guy cannot afford to play ball with the big guys. They can afford a lot more. Chemicals become cheaper. Seed becomes cheaper. Your inputs become cheaper the larger you get. If they want to buy land, they can pay more for it. If they want to rent land they can pay more for it. Personally, like I said, we don't want to get much bigger, or any bigger, so it doesn't affect us. But I do feel sorry for the guys that it does affect. The small farmers that now, you know, they're under 1,000 acres they've got to go find an additional job to help support their farming habit. It's a tough thing to give up. People don't want to give it up, the farming."
     [Question:] "Right. So, you're larger than the small ones."
     "Yeah, we're larger than, we are large enough. We're between 1,000 and 2,000 [acres]. How's that?"
     [Question:] "That helps."
     "There you go."
     [Question:] "What I'm hearing you say is that a moderate size operation is between 1,000 and 2,000 acres?"
     "I'm not sure I'd even call that moderate size."
     [Question:] "What would you call it?"
     "Small moderate. I'd put 1- to 2,000 maybe even on the smaller end."
     [Question:] "So, what's a large operation now?"
     "Ohhh, in my mind large now is probably over 7- to 8,000, and that's in this area. And it's there."

Heather Derr – Their "Moderate Size" Farm


Other Excerpts from Heather Derr’s Interview:

Government Subsidies
Choosing to Farm
Raising Kids for Export
Drugs in Rural America
The Miracle of Growing Plants
"Roughing" Weeds
Farmers are Conservationists
Using GPS Tools
Her First Tractor
Computers on the Farm