Vet-med salesman turns into  farmer-entrepreneur

February 12, 2017 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment


By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
He’s not a conventional farmer although he is from a family of farmers and grew up in a farming community in Piaz village, Villasis, Pangasinan .Because of his penchant for animals, he took up Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, major in Animal Science at Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Muñoz City, Nueva Ecija. He graduated in 1996 and went back home to venture into farming, tilling a 1.55 hectares farmland owned by his parents. He planted eggplant, palay, corn and other varieties of vegetables. He was a farmer for one and a half year as income from farming came in trickles. He married his wife Imelda Estayo in 1997, who was his schoolmate at CLSU, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and a licensed teacher.
As he was already a family man needing a permanent source of income, Joel Dela Cruz Rabanal, fondly called Joel by his friends, wanted to use his course in college. In 1998, he was employed by GCO Agri-Ventures of Diliman, Quezon City as a salesman of veterinary medicines covering the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, with a quota of P1 million sales a year. “It was hard to meet the sales quota at that time. My assigned areas have a very low hog population,” he said. He resigned from that company in 2000.
The farmer in Joel’s heart never waned. He continued his farming activities in between salesman’s job. In 2001 until 2002, he was employed by Marival Trading in  Quezon City selling again veterinary products covering the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan and La Union. “The pay was good including commissions but we have limited stocks. I could not maximize my sales, so again I resigned and became a full-time farmer for a year,” he said.
In 2003, he was hired by Purina Feeds based in Bacag,Villasis, Pangasinan as technical sales trainer on hog raising. He held the position until 2005 after which he decided to return to his former employer GCO Agri-Ventures with the same job until 2009 covering Pampanga, Tarlac and Pangasinan.
“There’s money in sales particularly veterinary products. Aside from monthly salary, commissions are  big. I used my commissions in my farming operations,” he said.
Hoping for a higher pay, Joel was employed in 2010 by Vet Specialist, Quezon City as Area Manager covering the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan and other parts of Ilocos Region. He resigned last June 2016 and put up own business in August 2016 – J&H Agri-Ventures in Villasis, Pangasinan in partnership with his friend Harold Bulatao of San Carlos City. The new business is the distributor of Vetri-Medica Corporation dealing with veterinary and nutritional products for animals.
In between his work as sales representative of veterinary medicines, he was not only  farming, but was also raising animals.
In 2013, he bought two heads of native hogs and reared them with organic food until they began to multiply. In that same year, a brother-in law has given him two heads  of sheep to take care of and he was able to increase their numbers. Aside from native hogs and sheep, he raised goats, turkeys, ducks and chicken making his 1.4 hectares residential and farm a haven for animals or mini-zoo. He used his sales commission to expand his animal stocks.
To date, Joel’s animal farm, which is about 50 meters from the dike along Agno River, boasts of 20 heads native sows, 30 heads native fattening hogs, 57  native piglets, three heads ewes, nine female sheep, 10 heads does, five turkeys, 15 heads native chicken and 15 heads ducks. At present, the estimated value is P850,000.00.
Rabanal continued to expand his animal stocks through dispersal to residents of Piaz village. He has dispersed 10  native hogs and 20 does on a 50-50 sharing on their offsprings. He regularly visits his dispersals and provides them with veterinary medicines while  continuing to educate the villagers on proper animal care.
On his farming activities, aside from planting eggplant and palay, he ventured into purple sweet corn production which he said could be planted five times a year. His crops provide his family a net income of P250,000 annually.
As his native hogs are increasing in numbers, Joel plans to put up a broiler/lechon business by March this year, which would featurenative organic lechon (roasted pig)  and native pork tapa. “The business will keep my wife busy aside from her farm supervision and looking after our five children and two farm workers,” Joel said with a boyish grin.
He said all his successes in his animal and crop farms are for his five daughters.His 20-year old eldest is a business management student at CLSU followed by a 17-year old  accounting student at Kingfisher College in Dagupan City. The third child, 13, is a Grade 8 student while the younger ones aged 9 and 8 are Grade 4 and Grade 2, respectively, at Piaz Elementary School.
But Joel’s dream is not confined to his family alone but also on he development of his village. In 2013, he ran as village chief but lost. He, however, continued his advocacy of extending technical assistance to the villagers by planning to upgrade goat stocks and disperse more native sows in the village.
Piaz village, he said, is now the main producer of native hogs in Villasis with more than 200 heads that are organically raised. “I hope we could expand that number and hold a “native hog lechon” festival in the future,” Joel said in jest.
In 2014, Joel organized the Piaz Carabao Center Association (PCCA) with 32 out-of-school youth as members.
“We have registered the association with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that assured us to avail P1.6 million financial assistance for the 32 heads of female carabaos. After we submitted the feasibility study, DOLE said that it had no available funds but can only finance four heads. We are all frustrated especially because  we planned to produce milk for the school children of our village and neighboring communities,” he said.
He said that he’s not losing hope under President Duterte’s administration with the assistance of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.
He further said farming should be viewed as a business enterprise and not just only production.
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Entry filed under: News.

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