Hard work pays off in accounting and farming

Written on Aug 29, 2019

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

 

The hard work that comes with growing up on a farm has prepared Jacob Gebhart well for life as a CPA.

He grew up on a farm in Mount Jackson, Pennsylvania, where his family had dairy and beef cows along with pigs, goats, sheep and chickens.

“I'd be helping my dad and we would milk cows, twice a day, morning and night,” he said. “And pretty much as soon as I got home (from school), if there was anything that he needed help with out in the field, I did that too.”

Gebhart’s father is the third generation in their family to run their farm. In addition to learning about hard work and multitasking from his dad, Jacob said he also learned about the business aspect of farming. Buying supplies, the costs of repairing machinery and communicating with vendors were all regular aspects of life and skills that eventually translated well to the business world.

He took advantage of the three years of accounting classes his high school offered, and said he was able to develop a connection with his teacher – who also owned a farm – and encouraged his passion for accounting.

After graduating from Youngstown State University, Gebhart started working at HBK and eventually took on farming clients.

“I can get the ball rolling because I know what they're talking about and ask about the weather and how the growing season has been,” he said. “And they enjoy that, and I’m able to make them feel comfortable talking to us about their farms.”

A bad growing season because of poor weather can drastically affect farms, Gebhart said, a reality that might not occur to someone who isn’t familiar with agriculture.

“The challenges and the issues that people come in with I got a feel for as I was growing up, just because my dad dealt with the same things,” he said.

Gebhart said his firm is also starting to do work for the cannabis industry, and he recently visited a cannabis farm to understand more.

“It was a first for me and it was pretty crazy,” he said.

Although he doesn’t live on a farm anymore, he goes back to his family farm regularly and said one day he’d like to have his own farm.

“It’s something that stays in your blood, and I think it has shaped who I am,” he said. “And I attribute that toward growing up in a farming background. There is the mindset that work comes first and play later.”

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