In 2002, Chase Crawford leased 40 acres, bought a combine for $1,200, scraped together additional equipment, and decided to try his hand at farming. The recent high school graduate had farming in his blood – his grandparents were farmers – but a skip in farming generations meant that Crawford had to start almost from scratch.

“It was a fun challenge,” he says, adding that he did have the opportunity to lease land from his grandparents.

At 19 years old, Crawford had no idea of the full challenge he was up against. He would build the farm up from 40 acres not once but twice; the second time following a tour in Iraq. He witnessed a comrade lose both of his legs when an explosively formed projectile (EFP) ripped through their Humvee. Crawford would have a hard time transitioning back to civilian life, suffering from PTSD like many of his friends, one of whom committed suicide last year.

If you ask him if he’d do it all over again, knowing the difficulties and the loss of limbs and life, he’ll say yes. “In a second. It was important,” says Crawford. “Maybe not in the grand scheme of things, as we were little cogs in a huge machine, but it was important.

“With experiences like that, you learn stuff about yourself that you can’t learn any other way,” he adds. “Not having that would be a detriment to myself. I wouldn’t be the same without it.”

For his outstanding service to his country, Crawford was one of the winners in this year’s Successful Farming magazine Fighter to Farmer Contest, sponsored by Grasshopper Mowers.

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Source: SuccessfulFarming –