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From Our Family Farm to Yours

Why I Farm: Behind the Movement

Tour Stop #4 - Bryon Coffman, Moweaqua, IL

Published on Wednesday, August 21, 2013

As I looked side to side, my eyes couldn’t reach far enough. Bright orange with a hint of red and purple, it was absolutely breathtaking. The sky was like a hot burner on a stove and the longer it heated the more orange it became. In my 28 years, I’ve never witnessed a sunset like I did on one Friday evening this past July.


My mom and I were traveling to Wisconsin for the weekend, visiting my husband’s family. With the Chicago skyline in the rearview mirror, we were headed west on I-88. A couple storm clouds passed over head and as we both looked into the horizon the sun started to set and a fireball emerged.

 

I couldn’t grab my phone fast enough as I yelled at mom to grab the wheel. (Just imagine an episode of Laverne and Shirley.) With mom steering and my foot on the pedal, I snapped as many pictures as I could. It was 10 minutes of pure beauty and the occasional scolding from mom. I was going 50 on the interstate and getting some very friendly waves from other cars.

Our trip north together was last minute, but during those 10 minutes there was nowhere else I wanted to be than right there with my momma. Even after the sun had set, the once dark storm clouds to the south had turned to a beautiful shade of pink. We both joked that the sunset was painted from our loved ones above, as a reminder that they’re with us every step (or mile) in this craziness that we call life.


So what does a sunset have to do with the next tour stop on my journey Behind the Why I Farm Movement? Well, I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

Tour Stop #4 – Bryon Coffman, Moweaqua, IL
I interviewed Bryon Coffman the same day I called to ask if he would join Beck’s Why I Farm movement. Over the phone, I could hear the hesitation in his voice, not sure if he had a story to tell. Like I’ve said before, farmers are some of the most humble people. Thankfully, it was too early to be in the fields and Bryon didn’t mind me stopping by after dinner time.

 

It was 6:30 p.m. on March 20th and the sun was just starting to set as I pulled into the gravel driveway at Coffman Farms in Moweaqua, IL. Bryon and his wife have a beautiful homestead. They recently built their dream operation right across the road from the home farm. Bryon greeted me at the front door and introduced me to his wife. We sat down at the kitchen table and began our conversation. As soon as Bryon started talking about growing up on the farm, the slight nervousness in his voice disappeared. I could tell right away, farming was meant for this third generation farmer.

A symbol of strength, family bond and history. Coffman Farms originated in 1951, near the town of Moweaqua, IL.

Like many farmers, farming came naturally to Bryon. But when his grandfather passed away, he was pushed to the operation a little quicker. Bryon was in seventh grade when his dad started pulling him out of school to help during planting or harvest. One of my favorite quotes from Bryon is, “You do what you have to for your family.” A quote I think we all can relate to.

After college, he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. We laughed when he talked about how still to this day, running the combine is something he loves to do, but doesn’t always get the chance. According to Bryon, “That’s dad’s job.” Like many farm operations, I think that job has to be earned.

I asked Bryon about a time in his life when he overcame a challenge. He didn’t even think twice about the question. His father encouraged him to buy into the farm at a young age; a challenge many wouldn’t take. I admired Bryon for his courage to accept the challenge head on.

Just like in every interview, there is always a part that hits me right to the core. It was during the middle of our conversation that Bryon took me back to growing up on the farm. When Bryon talked about the special bond he has with his parents, I realized how thankful I am that I had an opportunity to move home nearly three years ago. He and his parents have a special bond, one that is formed from years of working together, surviving challenges, and celebrating accomplishments.

Three generations of Coffman men. Brian (middle) with his son and father, Jim.

As I drove away from Coffman Farms that evening, I couldn’t stop thinking about that special bond you have with your family. Even though my mind was racing, I was at peace, knowing that home was right where I was supposed to be. At that moment I looked to the west and saw a beautiful Illinois sunset. I said a little prayer and thanked those above for always being by my side.

I hope you’ll take two minutes to watch Bryon’s Why I Farm video. Because like me, you might just relate to his story of growing up on the farm.

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Ashley Fischer
Ashley Fischer>

Ashley Fischer

Marketing Communications Manager at Beck's.

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