In 2004, Will and Kerri Wild and young son Cooper, were a typical young family trying to build a life in the ranching business in Western Nebraska. They lived on a leased ranch of 3,500 acres. Will was running about 145 cows and working for a construction company in a neighboring town, and Kerri worked at the local hospital as a Radiology Technician.
They found themselves just coming and going trying to balance their rural life with the demands from their outside jobs. Will wanted to start his own excavating business and had been researching the idea for about a year. He felt that with his experience and background in excavation and operating large equipment, along with his connections with other ranches in the area, he could make his own business work.
What he needed was some financial assistance in purchasing the needed excavating equipment. He already had a heavy duty truck and trailer to haul the equipment. He contacted several local lending institutions about securing financing, but was unable to find the needed help.
A local bank referred Will to the REAP program, and Will contacted Jerry Terwilliger, the Panhandle REAP Business Specialist for assistance. Will and Jerry worked on a business plan, and Jerry was able to put together a financial package that included REAP and the Panhandle Area Development loan fund to finance the needed equipment.
Will credits the REAP program for the needed financing assistance to start up his business. Will and Kerri are very pleased with the new business; Kerri says it helps with scheduling time for the young family as it makes Will’s time a little more flexible.
Kerri still works at the local hospital, and in 2005 they have added a new daughter to their family and have purchased an adjoining 1,500 acres of grass and added to their cattle herd. Will is very pleased with the business so far and is looking forward to adding additional equipment so that he can take on other types of work.
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Center for Rural Affairs
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