The Farmers in the Dell
The Dell family of Maryland is sharing their succession story with the readers of Farm Journal as part of the Farm Journal Legacy Project.
Everything I Never Wanted
Sep 13, 2010
Determination. This might be a word many would use to describe what every farmer needs to survive.
The Dells of Westminster, Maryland have been determined for many years to make the most of a lifestyle they hold dear to their hearts and to make sure that the future generations can sustain it. For that reason, we began the Farm Journal "Legacy Project" more than a year ago.
I was asked to begin blogging about progress we have made, goals we are setting, and what this project means for our family. But first, who am I, you ask?
My name is Shannon Dell. I’m married to Tommy, the middle Son of Greg and Della Dell who are the second generation in this "Legacy Project". I didn’t grow up on a farm, so eleven years ago when I started dating Tommy, I really didn’t know how my life was about to change. I grew up about fifteen minutes from where the Dell Farm is located. My Dad, president of Stambaugh’s, Inc., is a longtime business owner in the area and he spent countless hours throughout my childhood trying to grow his business so I was accustomed to the long hours required of a farmer, who is inevitably growing and changing their business. Since a very young age I have had an entrepreneurial spirit and always wanted to be a leader. I knew that whatever I was going to do in life I had to be passionate about it.
I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Towson State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. I thought I had it all figured out! I would get a job in a city, somewhere other than Carroll County, and work for a large corporation in their marketing department. Instead, I decided to stay close to my roots after I started dating Tommy and take the job as Corporate Treasurer with Stambaugh’s, Inc. Life moves fast…we got married a year later and within another year we started a family. Eventually, after two kids, Grady and Josie, and Tommy’s long work hours it was not feasible for me to work off the farm. We have always worked well as a team. We turned our smaller scale Angus cattle operation into a freezer beef business that I could help with to create extra income. When Josie started pre-school I took a part-time job off the farm at a financial planning firm here in Westminster. Also, it was discussed several years ago that when "Mom-Mom", Leona Dell who is first generation in this "Legacy Project", was ready to retire from her bookkeeping duties that it would be best if I stepped in.
Well, that time started on January 1, 2010 as one of the steps in this transition. "Mom-Mom" is now relaxing a little more these days as I have taken on all bookkeeping and back office operations. I couldn’t be more excited! The farm is our life. In the early weeks of this transition as "Mom-Mom" and I would work together on day to day operations, I received more than just training on how she had done things, I could see the years of dedication in her eyes as we would discuss the history and stories of the farm and the changes over her lifetime. This I cherish and really appreciate. I feel like I have some different perspectives to bring to the table in this operation but farming is like no other business it’s not always a job you can prepare for and being the "Type A" person that I am, I have learned to just roll with it. There are many obstacles ahead but I’m ready.
And guess what? I have found a passion for something I never expected. I always tell Tommy, "You gave me everything I never wanted!"