Down on the farmJHS senior sets sights on a career in dairy farming.
By: By Jordan Peterson, student intern reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
A dream may turn into a hobby. A hobby may turn into a passion. And, if you’re lucky, that passion may turn into a life-long career.
That’s the hope of Collin Doherty, a hobby farmer from Garfield.
Ever since he was a young boy, Doherty helped out on his grandpa’s farm.
“I used to spend days upon weeks at my grandpa’s farm,” he said. “I enjoyed being in the farm environment and I loved being able to spend time with animals.”
Since then, Doherty has been working on several farms around the Garfield area.
This has further motivated his decision to take up farming as a career after graduating from high school this spring.
“I do what I like and do not despise the work I do,” he said.
One glance at Doherty’s grades could cause some conflicting opinions on his choice to go into farming instead of pursing a secondary education right away.
He has been an ‘A’ student throughout high school.
“Most people think it is a crazy idea,” he said of his choice to go straight into farming after high school. “They think that it is a waste of time and money and that to have a real career you have to have a $100,000 degree.”
Though Doherty excels in school, he doesn’t see college as a good fit for him.
“There is not really anything in college that I would like to study. All that I want to do is here on the farm,” he said.
Much like preparing to go off to college, Doherty has quite the list of things he must prepare before farming next year.
He has plans of renting a dairy barn from a local farmer and using it throughout the year to see how that treats him.
“I am just going to rent to see how it all flows for the first year,” he said. “If I do not like it then I will not be tied down and I can sell out on my stock and potentially go to the tech college for a degree in, maybe, diesel mechanics.”
“I basically have to redo the whole barn,” he said. “The milk pumps have to be replaced, the milk lines have to be drained out and the barn has to be repainted – just the little things that have to be done in order to get set up.”
Most of Doherty’s frustrations and worries lie with money.
“Not having a farm handed down to you from the family can be frustrating when it comes to spending money,” he said. “A farmer has to worry about paying rent and breaking even for the month.”
Doherty has the full support of his parents, Pat and Kelly Doherty, behind him.
“My parents are happy that I am doing what I want to do instead of pursuing something that I will regret doing as a career the rest of my life,” he said.
In the near future, Doherty has a lot on his plate to ingest.
“My goal in the coming year is to expand my stock of dairy cattle and to be selling milk in the next month or so,” he said. “Then for a much bigger goal in the later future, I would like to try and become one of the top selling dairy producers for quantity and quality in the state.”
With admiration for future dairy farmers, Doherty wants others to be able to distinguish between the negatives and positives of dairy farming.
“A lot of dairy farmers that have been in it for 20 or more years will say it is not worth doing,” he said. “Try not to listen to the negatives and focus on the positives if it is really what you want to do.
“Do what you like in life. Do not pursue things that you despise,” he added.
Doherty’s focus is not on a brand new pair of shoes or a fancy new pickup – just whatever is waiting for him down at the farm.