As a daughter of the Hopcott family, and manager of Hopcott Meats, I can’t deny that I take pride in what my parents set out to achieve. But funny enough, as a young girl I never really expected to join the family business. It was just the cattle farm back then, and there was no role for me…not really. Fair skinned, freckled red heads don’t work well in the elements, lol. Don’t get me wrong—I loved growing up on the farm and watching my dad work, I just never thought I’d actually work there on day.
But over the years, my parents worked to expand and diversify the business, to create opportunities for all their children. I always sensed their passion for the farm, and I know it’s always been my parents wish that we all stay connected and develop the same love of the land. And here I am, 8.5 years later, managing the meat shop and working with the people I love.
One has to admit, that working with family has it’s challenges. Sometimes it’s hard to separate business and personal, because sometimes they’re the same thing. I’m always thinking about my responsibilities as a daughter, wife and mother, but also what decisions need to be made as to what’s best for the business. Having a “staff” meeting, we’re interacting as fellow employees as well as family, but keeping peace in the family is always number one.
But, I actually see working with family as a perk. Because I do know everyone so well on all levels, I feel like we give each other a little more slack. Like, if one of us is having a bad day, and maybe said something we shouldn’t have, we’re able to let that roll off our backs. Plus, we really know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we help share each other’s work loads when possible. But, we’ve definitely had to increase our level of communication, and really learn to share our feelings in a family group setting, which is easier said than done.
As a parent, I am incredibly grateful for the flex time. Choosing my own hours has allowed me to, successfully, balance running a household and career. For example, I’ve never missed any of my children’s field trips over the years. But, that doesn’t mean I get to slack off. In fact, I think the Hopcott standard is higher than one would think. Dad puts so much faith in us, and we have a great deal of respect and trust for each other, that no one wants to disappoint the others. We still have scheduled shifts, and follow rules like any other team of employees. This is especially important to ensure we deliver the best products and service to our customers.
I want my children to feel the same way about the farm and family business as I do, so I strive to model by example to teach the next generation to support and advocate for local farming. To embrace their role in the community and as future farmers. Although so much has changed in the world, our commitment to one another, at work and at home, never has…even four generations later.