The Successors, Ep 5: Working on and off the farm, having a willingness to learn, and staying humble in the winners circle


The Successors is a RealAgriculture podcast series hosted by Kara Oosterhuis focusing on agriculture from the perspective of the up-and-coming generation.

How does one tackle farming, and having a full-time job off of the farm? What are some things you can do to keep yourself organized? Why are the relationships of those around you crucial for success?

Matt Chapple, of Kent County in southern Ontario, spends his daytime hours as a market development agronomist with PRIDE Seeds, and his “off hours” as a farmer in his family business, Chapple Farms.

With the idea of farming always in his goals, Chapple originally took some convincing to go get post-secondary education. After a little nudge from his family, and his dad reminding him ‘the farm will always be here, and there’s a lot to learn out there,’ he received two diplomas — one in crop production, and one in environmental management.

When it comes to managing both of these jobs, and although he’d like to be proactive in an industry that relies so heavily on Mother Nature, some actions just have to be reactive. Most recently in Ontario, the thought of the spring of 2019 comes to mind, when the taps wouldn’t turn off and, as Chapple recalls, “everything seemed to get planted in a two week window.”

Chapple says that his saving grace has been the the relationships he has built in all aspects of his life.

“The best thing you can do is have relationships with your retailers and your input suppliers. Always be organized. Try to pre-buy things. Have things on-farm and on-hand. Those things alone have made it so much easier when my schedule permits, to still be able to hop in a tractor at 6:00, know that the tank of glyphosate is still here in the yard, or the tank 0f 28 per cent is ready to go for when I need to apply some nitrogen on the corn or wheat,” he says.

Managing expectations, both for yourself and for others, is crucial when it comes to wearing many different hats, and as Chapple emphasizes, this can be incredibly tough when there are only so many hours in the day.

“There is times where you want to be in so many places and doing so many different things, and taking on new tasks,” he explains, adding that a part of managing expectations for himself has been knowing that you can’t always do the jobs you would ideally like to. “Often, I don’t get to be the combine operator. It just doesn’t make sense. I rarely do much spraying, because spraying is such a time-sensitive thing and sometimes the window for that is quite small. So that’s where I really lean on Dad to do those things in the farming operation. So I think that we all understand that, and that’s how we all get it done.”

Listen on for a conversation with Matt Chapple and host Kara Oosterhuis on embracing a willingness to learn, the importance of leaning on good people, finding what makes you ‘tick’, and horse racing legacies:

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