Connections 2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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15 Continued from 14 Farms other, Mrs. Roberson said. "A couple years ago, we had a disease at our sow farm that completely wiped out our baby pigs," Mrs. Overman said. "We went three to four months without a pig, but we still had to pay payroll. We still had to pay power bills, LP gas bills, upkeep on the building. "We get paid when we're weaning pigs. If we're not weaning pigs, we're not getting paid." The intestinal sickness led to the loss of 5,000 pigs and lost at several months of income, Mrs. Overman said. When the sow farm is in full operation, nearly 900 pigs are weaned each week. The finishing farm also produces anywhere from 16,000 to 20,000 full-grow pigs each year, Overman said. Crop losses can be difficult as well, including the loss of hundreds of acres of soybeans during Hurricane Matthew in October. "We lost 500 acres of soybeans to the river, at $400 an acre, which is what we had in it," Mrs. Overman said. "We had $400 worth of seed and fertilizer in it. That was $200,000." Making it in today's environment involves making smart business decisions, reducing expenses, keeping debt low and planning for the future. "We haven't bought anything new in a long time," Overman said. "We do all the things we can to keep the costs down. "The past two years have been difficult because of the drop in commodity prices. It's put a lot of strain on making the cash flow work. As tight as margins are now, you have to make a good crop." After their son-in-law, Ryan, joined Overman Farms, he added cows as another move to diversify operations and add sources of revenue. Today, the farm has about 60 cows, which are bred and later sold to market. Hay crops have also been added and offer feed for the animals and another source of revenue through sales. "I think a big part of changing with the times and adapting is making sure you're making the best use of the land that you have," Mrs. Roberson said. "Ryan is always thinking about how to be more effi- cient to meet with the changing times. He's always try- ing to think of a way we can modernize or best use the equipment we have. "Farming, it's got to be something that you love or you won't be able to withstand the challenges that it brings." The Overmans and Robersons all have college degrees and hope that the family farm can continue to be passed on to future generations. "Farmers, they don't farm because there's nothing else to do," Mrs. Overman said. "They're educated. Their trac- tors and combines are very computerized. "(They farm) because they love it. We love the chal- lenge." The Overmans are also involved in advocating for the farming industry through the N.C. Farm Bureau. Overman is the past county president and currently serves on the state board for the Farm Bureau. Mrs. Overman and Mrs. Roberson are county women committee members, and Mrs. Overman is a state women's committee member for the N.C. Farm Bureau. Mrs. Overman is also one of 10 women nationwide serving on the women's leadership committee for the American Farm Bureau Federation. At home, Mrs. Roberson looks forward to carrying on the family legacy. "It's important to me because it's my family," she said. "I know what my parents put in, and I know what my grandparents put in. If it wasn't for my grandparents, or dad's parents, none of this would be here."

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