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Dumb luck, death, and pigs: A rookie and veteran farmer reflect on the job

“Work in Progress” is a new Stateside series about what it's like to be at opposite ends of the same career path. You'll hear conversations between two people —one who's just starting out in a job and one who's been working in the field for a long time.

Throughout the series we’ll feature conversations between people who have chosen a variety of career paths ranging from conductors, to priests, nurses, and millwrights.

But first, we turn the spotlight on two farmers.

Dave Komasara is an emergency medicine doctor who moved to his Burlington farm from Detroit 14 years ago. He joined Frank Baffi in his tool shop on the Cooks Prairie, where Baffi raised pigs and cattle for nearly 40 years.

Both Komasara and Baffi bought and moved to their farms seeking a refuge from city life.

“When I decided to move out to the farm. I think it was the best thing I ever did," Komasara said. "There’s nothing more peaceful. I don’t miss the city at all.”

Baffi warned Komasara that not everything is always going to be roses out on the farm, especially in current financial conditions.

“Everything has changed because the margins have got so small,” Baffi said. “You hear this thing of sustainable agriculture, well hey, if something isn’t profitable, there’s no way it’s sustainable.”

Komasara is still waiting to fully devote himself to farming, but he told Baffi he already feels the benefits of the work he’s doing.

“Out on the farm … you see things that you’re doing that make a difference, or that are working in a positive way,” he said.

As for his success, Baffi says he can’t take much credit for it.

“A lot of it I think was just dumb luck,” he said. “When the price was good, I had pigs to sell. A lot of this thing we give ourselves credit for, but there’s things that happened to me here on this farm — and things I did — that ended up real good. But it wasn’t planned to be real good, it was just supposed to be a little bit good.”

Listen above for the full conversation between Dave Komasara and Frank Baffi.

This post was written by Stateside production assistant Joey Horan. 

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
Joey Horan is a production assistant at Stateside. He lives on the banks of the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio, where he also works as a freelance reporter.
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