Almost 15 years ago, Dave Limpert and his brother tossed a coin to see who would get to stay on the family farm. We spoke to Dave at his farm near Okotoks, Alberta, and captured some of these powerful quotes that we pulled from his interview where Dave shares his incredible story, looking back on this and other defining moments for their family farm.
Make sure you scroll down to check out the full video of Dave’s story, where he reveals at 2:21 into the video why his mother ended up paying so much in taxes after her husband’s unexpected death, and at 9:32 he identifies something that is causing family farms in Canada to disappear.
Tell us about a pivotal moment for your family farm.
There was a couple of defining moments in the history of my family and ranching and farming, that could have changed things and went a different direction. Probably the most impactful one was in 1981. My dad was farming with my grandfather and my brother and I at 18 and 16 – I’m the oldest of 6 kids. We were just getting into the family farm, and my dad passed away, at age 46. One day he was there, and the next day he just wasn’t there. And the most unfortunate part of that whole story is that we had never had anyone drive into our yard and teach us anything about financial management on a business or a farm.
What’s the biggest challenge facing young farmers?
A lot of the reason that the next generation, not even if they want to but can’t [take over the farm], is that we’ve paid for the exact same dirt four or five times over. That has to be stopped, or everything we’re doing is for nothing. That’s why the next generation can’t take over. It’s not that they don’t want to. They can’t.
What’s one major lesson you’ve learned about farming?
Harvest is a funny time of year, because while you’re harvesting, what are you thinking? Gotta get done, gotta get done. But the moment you’re done, what are you thinking? Wish I had more, wish I had more. Right? And I remember the day we were down there and my brother came in with our brand new John Deere combine, and up in the quonset I was leaning on that same 65’ chev half tonne that I learned to drive when I was like 8 or 9 years old. And I was just kicking rocks there and going “man I gotta put that combine to work”, you know? I got a payment coming out, and combines are a funny machine because you use them about 150 hours a year, and then they sit in the quonset. So I’m kicking stones, and as my brother’s walking down from the quonset and I was just kicking those stones, looking down like this, and I had a defining moment. And I realized where all our money was. I was standing on it. I was an asset millionaire, but I didn’t have enough money in my pocket to go to town for a coffee.