Brockman Buys a Farm: Young Farmer Raises Chicks as Career
Knifley, Ky – Twenty year-old Allison Brockman is proud to have many titles in her life.
Daughter, sister, aunt, farmer, college student, Kentucky Cattleman’s Association regional board member.
Not listed is her most recent title – one she gave herself – and that is: chicken-tender.
“I like to joke and say I’m a chicken-tender, because I tend to chickens’” said Brockman. “I thought it was pretty funny.”
As of Jan. 31, Brockman is taking care of close to 80,000 chicks on her very own chicken farm she purchased this winter.
Six months ago, Brockman says she would have never thought she would be “tending” to her very own chickens.
“I did not anticipate this at all,” said Brockman. “The opportunity arose to buy a farm at home, so I felt that I couldn’t pass it up.
After growing up in Knifley on her parents’ diversified production farm, the independent Brockman set her sights on farming for the rest of her life despite what anyone else thought.
“For me, it was a no brainer,” said Brockman. “A lot of people say that I’m young and there are so many things I can do, and ask me, ‘why would you ever want to come back and farm?’ I think everyone has to decide for themselves. Don’t do what people encourage you to do, you just need to do what you want to do.”
That’s just what she did. But first, she wanted to get a degree.
Brockman currently studies agriculture economics and entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to learn more about how to be profitable and successful as a farmer.
“I knew that whatever I wanted to do, I wanted to be my own boss,” said Brockman.
She chose UNL after falling in love with Nebraska during a beef symposium in the state and the fact that living there would help her learn more about the agriculture business and cattle, which is her passion.
“Nebraska is similar to Kentucky, with a lot of small town people who farm and want you to succeed,” said Brockman. “Ninety-four percent of their economy is agriculture, so basically everyone has a tie to agriculture. I’m really glad I went there for school.”
She also loved the idea of a new atmosphere to grow in.
“Some people would say it was scary but I thought it was exciting,” said Brockman. “I got to meet new people and experience a new culture. It was cool to see other people that enjoyed what I did.”
Brockman had every intention of going back to Nebraska to finisher her degree until she heard about a poultry farm in Knifley being for sale.
While it’s not cattle, it was a start, says Brockman, and she did already know about poultry production thanks to her parents’ farm.
With only a month to figure out how she could buy the farm before she went back to college for her senior year, Brockman explained how she made the right choices in one of the biggest decisions of her life.
“I asked a lot of questions and I think that was the key thing,’ said Brockman. “I think a lot of people are afraid to ask questions when they do something new or when they’re young because they think people will think they’re stupid. If you don’t ask questions, you’re never going to know.”
During this process, she was told by Tyson Foods, who she is currently under contract with, that she had to be within five miles of the poultry houses.
That’s when Brockman went to her professors in Nebraska who helped her make her dreams a reality.
“People what you to succeed, and my professors said they would work with me. Most of them had grown up on a farm and they knew what I was getting into and that it was a big deal,” said Brockman.
Besides that hiccup, Brockman also learned a lot about finance through buying her farm, which she admits once made her doubtful whether she could do it at all.
“I hesitated for a moment and then I realized that was just fear talking, because the reality is that I have an amazing family and all of us farm and support each other, and that would be stupid not to pursue this.”
At the end, it all worked out. Brockman bought the farm in December and with the help of her family, got to work on preparing for the chicks to arrive.
Now into her second week with the chicks, Brockman is learning something new every day and is enjoying every minute.
“My favorite thing is learning everything, learning about how they grow and how you can improve your operation. I’m young and I have so much to learn,” said Brockman.
Brockman says she will have her chickens for 60-days before they will be picked up and averaging about 10 pounds each.
The number of chickens, their weight and feed conversions all factor in what Brockman will get paid.
Brockman is still in one of the most important stages of chicken raising, as the young chicks require a lot of supervision and maintenance.
However, a strong work ethic is in her blood and she doesn’t mind all the time it takes to run a successful operation.
She also credits her family and God as the reason she will succeed.
“The fact that my family supports me no matter what is the key to my success. I couldn’t have gotten this ready by myself, and that’s a huge blessing,” said Brockman. “A lot of people leave God out of things and it’s not fair to say I could’ve done this, even with my family. You’ve gotta give God credit.
When she’s not with her chickens, Brockman is either tending to her small cattle herd at home, helping her parent with their farm operations or doing her college homework. Brockman is the daughter of Swain and Theresa Brockman.
Brockman also spends her time as part of the regional board of directors for Kentucky Cattlemen Association.
She is the first person from Adair County, and currently the youngest, on the board.
“We meet and talk about what cattle farms are facing, what the future looks like and how we can do new things, and that’s what I’m most passionate about.”
Brockman’s journey in the last six months has helped her realize the good that can happen in life.
“Talk about your story, celebrate each other. Look for the good, cause there’s a lot of good,” she said.