Farms.com caught up with Mike to get a sense of what 2016 was like on his farm.
Farms.com (Farms): Describe the feeling of finishing your work for the season.
Mike Pasztor (MP): Definitely a relief. It was a pretty long and challenging year. There’s also some pride in being able to get everything off and have a decent year despite all the challenges and obstacles we had to overcome.
Farms: You mentioned that you’ve had some challenges. What were some of the biggest ones you faced in 2016?
MP: This year we had a really dry spring and early summer, so that added some stress but we did get some rain into July. You factor that into government regulations, new stuff coming out and the regular activist stuff, it seems like everything is becoming an uphill battle now. Not only are we dealing with the challenges we usually do like the weather and market volatility, but now there’s these added obstacles as well.
Farms: What were some of the biggest successes you had on the farm this year?
MP: Well despite the weather challenges, it wasn’t our best year ever, but wasn’t our worst year either. We grow about eight different crops (including corn, soybeans, butternut squash, cucumber and jalapeno peppers) and are pretty diversified. It was a success to get them all off and learn from our mistakes so we can make the right adjustments next year.
Farms: You said you’re on vacation until May. Do you clear your mind of farming until then or are you planning for next season?
MP: We started planning for next season a few months ago. We’re looking at what we can do better to be more profitable and have an all-around life. There’s been a lot of sacrifices because we’ve been so busy. You learn from those mistakes and you move on hoping next year will be better.
Farms: Do you have any plans for the down time?
MP: I think this year I’ll be treating myself to some kind of vacation abroad. With this year being so hot and a lot of the crops we grow requiring us to be in the sun all day, it wears on you and can be overwhelming. We’ll still be going to conferences, meetings and planning for next year.