Lessons Learned with Farmer and Entrepreneur Pat Urban

We sit down with farmer and entrepreneur Pat Urban to find out what lessons he has for other farmers that are interested in owning other businesses.

By Tharran E. Gaines | Photos By Charlie Riedel

FarmLife: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

Pat Urban: Probably my dad. He instilled the idea of hard work in me early on, especially when he had some health problems and I had to miss school to do some of the fieldwork. He always told me I could do anything I wanted if I worked for it.

FL: What’s the best advice you’ve received?

PU: I can’t remember all the advice I got from Dad over the years; but I do remember one of my instructors at the technical college telling us not to take our worries home with us at night because it would just eat us up inside. So, I try to stay pretty calm when things go wrong, because, most of the time, getting upset and flying off the handle doesn’t get you anywhere.

FL: What have you learned from those older or younger than you?

PU: I’ve learned a lot from those who are older than me, but I’m not sure I’ve learned much from those who are younger, unless it’s been something to do with electronics or technology. I guess I’m pretty much old school.

FL: Name a mistake that taught you a lesson.

PU: I make mistakes every day, but I hope that I also learn something every day. I guess the one mistake I can think of is not listening to the wisdom of those older than me when I had the chance.

FL: How have you changed since you were younger?

PU: My life has gotten a lot busier. I used to like to work on equipment, too, but that’s more difficult now. I tore my knee up in high school playing football, so it’s hard to stand on concrete all day.

FL: How has your lifestyle changed?

PU: It used to be that I had time in the winter to do things that I wanted to do. But that’s not even the case anymore. Between work and the sports, FFA and 4-H activities our daughters have going on, I don’t have much free time for myself. There’s always something to go to.

FL: What have you learned about predicting the future?

PU: I don’t think you can predict anything. You can guess at what’s going to happen in the future, but I don’t know that you can accurately predict anything. Predicting how much fertilizer we will need for our customers is a good example. We had already sold as much fertilizer by last October as we did in all of 2017. Then, when we had to order more, the prices had gone up quite a bit due to all the hurricanes.

FL: What’s something you’d like to do or learn?

PU: I would love to travel to the open country in Wyoming and Montana. I’ve been through some of it in a semi, but I would love to spend some time touring out West.

FL: What advice would you offer FarmLife readers?

PU: There are so many different ways people do things that I’m not sure I would have anything to offer, because what works for me might not work for the next guy. I guess if there is one thing, it would be to listen to the advice from the older guys who have already experienced some of the things you’re going through. It turns out they know more than you ever imagined when you were younger.