Published on Thursday, August 18, 2016
Deb Gangwish has always enjoyed being connected to the outdoors. “Like some people need to go jogging, I need to be outside where I can see the sunset, see the stars, and look for a crescent moon.” Hunting, fishing, and scuba diving are just a few of the family’s favorite past times.
When she was ten, Deb’s parents moved to an acreage outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. “It was there, even though it was this tiny little farm, that I learned the life lesson of taking care of everything else before you go to school, before you play sports, otherwise it’s going to die.” As an adult, Deb had jobs in and out of agriculture. It wasn’t until 2008 that she was able to become part of the family farm full time. “I think the love for agriculture came when I got to be here and immerse myself and be part of the operation. Then things just blossomed. Now I can do so much more for our family farm and the industry.”
These days, Deb works alongside her husband, Paul on their two Nebraska farms raising corn, soybeans, sorghum, seed corn, and cattle. “Paul is the one that loves Excel and crunching numbers.” Deb smiles. Her duties on the farm are constantly evolving. Lately, she’s been researching new technologies for the farm. Other times she’s cooking, checking irrigation pumps, or representing her farm on the Corn Growers Board of Directors.
Whatever the day’s task, Deb appreciates the sense of connected-ness working in agriculture brings. “We absolutely have to take care of our farm because if we don’t treat Mother Nature well, Mother Nature doesn’t take care of us. You have to honor what you have. There may be thousands of acres around here but to us, it’s our backyard. I never think of big fields as big fields, I think of them as pieces of the planet that we have to take care of or it’s not going to be around. Sometimes I think too much, but we’re just part of such a bigger picture. We use Google Maps a lot, so when you’re on Google Maps you see the earth and then you can zoom in. Just for that moment it’s like, ‘Wow’. You know? We don’t even matter, we’re just this little speck, but the closer you get, the more you realize everything we do impacts everyone else and there’s just a connectedness that I feel. You smell things, you hear tons of frogs singing at night. You can see the stars. You can feel the wind. You can hear owls. All of that is part of who we are.”
There’s pride that comes with knowing you’re connected to a world larger than yourself. “There’s always excitement in coming out and knowing your producing something to fuel, feed and clothe folks. There’s just a bigger mission. It sounds goofy talking about it, but I think we all know we’re part of a bigger picture. There’s rarely a day you don’t think about the fact something needs you more than your personal needs. I think that every single day. You love that crop. You’ve invested in it. To me, it’s no different than kids. Good days, bad days, it’s just what you do. It’s within you.”
“We farm because it’s what we know, it’s what we’re good at, it’s what we love, it’s how we live, and it’s how we sleep. It’s everything we do. My husband is from five generations of farmers all the way back to Germany and there’s really nothing we’ve ever dreamt of doing other than being even better farmers. So, why do we farm? It’s our passion, it’s our love, it’s everything we are.”
That’s why Deb Gangwish farms.
Author: Natalina Sents
Categories: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Deb Gangwish, Nebraska farmer