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Middle School Teacher Finds Passion & Purpose on the Farm

Derrick Stalbaum uses his passion for educating and agriculture to educate students about the care and work that goes into raising commercial hogs.

Derrick Staulbaum in hog barn
// Cooperative Stories, Customer Stories

Derrick Stalbaum understands life on the farm. He grew up on his family’s farm in Pulaski County, Indiana feeding animals, picking corn and handling other daily chores. Sometimes, that meant missing trips to the movies or other after-school activities with his friends.

“Now as an adult, I look back and think of how that kind of helped me,” Derrick said. “That made me who I am today and gave me the work ethic I have and that I hope to give my own children.”

Derrick leaned into his passion for communications and teaching to pursue a degree in education, which led to a job as a middle school math teacher after graduation. But as his teaching career went on, a desire to come back to the family farm was always lingering in the back of his mind.

When given the opportunity to purchase some local pig barns from friends, Derrick and his wife, Abbie, took the leap and bought them. From that point on, Derrick spent his days teaching and his evenings and weekends taking care of the farm.

“As time went on, I realized I wanted to do this full time,” he said. He and Abbie agreed to pursue that dream. That meant coming up with a plan to strategically expand their operation over time.

“I didn’t want to come to the farm and just be here,” he said. “I wanted to add something to it. When I look out at this operation that my wife and I have added to this farm, one of the things that give me the most pride is knowing this is something we’ve built with our hands. We’ve built every structure that you see.”

The growth and management of the farm are still very much a family affair. Derrick’s dad and grandparents are still involved, as are Abbie and their children.

Derrick still puts his passion for teaching to work by creating educational content for social media and working with local schools to educate students about the care and work that goes into raising and caring for the pigs.

“I believe the thing that sets my family’s farm apart from many other farms is our mission of transparency and positivity,” Derrick explained. “The driving force of my ambition is continuing my family’s legacy by ensuring it continues long after me through modernization and growth. We are creating positive community awareness of agriculture and prioritizing the ownership of our farm within our family.”

Watch to hear more about Derrick's story. 

Farm Credit Mid-America territory includes Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Arkansas includes Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Desha (northeast of the White River), Greene, Lee, Mississippi, Phillips, Poinsett, and St. Francis counties. Missouri includes Carter, Ripley and Wayne counties. Kentucky excludes Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken counties. Ohio excludes Crawford, Hancock, Lucas, Marion, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood and Wyandot counties. We serve all counties in Indiana and Tennessee. 

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