Published on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
A couple weeks ago, my dad and I had what I like to call a father-daughter date. It wasn’t planned. But to me, those are the best kind. With my mom out-of-town and my brother with friends, dad and I were on our own for dinner.
Over barbecue sandwiches at Famous Dave’s, we laughed about our day, talked crops, the weather, and my travels. Then on our way back and as we rounded the last turn to the farm dad asked me a question.
“You wanna go look at crops.”
For close to an hour, we admired the fields that looked great. Commented on fields that were struggling. And at times, just sat in silence. With the windows down, the smell of agriculture consumed the cab of dad’s F250. The wind raced between my fingers as I held my arm out of the truck.
I felt like a kid again.
Glancing over at dad, his arm dangled out the window and his eyes darted from the road to the field then back to the road. As I watched the corn pass by, my mind began to wonder. Growing up on the farm, my brother and I had chores to complete. Sure, they weren’t always fun, but they always needed to be done. When I think back, it wasn't just the muddy boots, messy hair, and callused hands that built our character. It was our parents unwavering determination. Because sometimes achieving your dreams require a little grit.
Driving down a country road with dad, looking at crops, talking about the farm, and discussing markets was the perfect Monday evening. And it made me think of my interview with a Tennessee farm family I interviewed a few months ago. For the Moore family, they’re dedicated to growing the farm. Something my dad also works hard at each and every day. Because some day the farm will be passed to the next generation.
Ben Moore – Dresden, TN
In late March, Joel and I loaded the truck with video cameras, tripods, audio equipment and overnight bags. With a seven hour drive ahead of us, this would be our longest trip to interview a farm family for the Why I Farm movement. But we couldn’t wait. A different state to visit. A new family to meet. And a unique story to capture.
Our drive south to the farm of Kenneth and Ben Moore was beautiful – trees and rock formations lined the roads. Traffic was minimal. And we had the perfect view to a colorful sunset. However, if you ask me how to get there, I couldn’t tell ya. Without GPS, we wouldn’t have made it. In fact, I’m pretty sure Betty, (aka GPS on my phone) got confused too. After several different highways and only two missed turns, we made it to western Tennessee.
Joel and I met for breakfast in the hotel lobby, watched news while we ate, and reviewed the game plan for our interview. Just like every interview, I was getting nervous. Not nerves of anxiousness, but nerves of eagerness.
As we pulled in the driveway, a small pond adorned the east side of the farm. With the reflection of the grain bins and farm shop on the water, Joel was already envisioning potential video shots. We pulled up to the house as Kenneth, Ben’s dad, walked out of the garage. After introducing ourselves, we grabbed the equipment and headed into their office. Ben walked in about fifteen minutes later after spraying a field. Planting was right around the corner and Ben was taking advantage of the nice weather.
If Ben and Kenneth were nervous, it didn’t show. Even the bright lights, two cameras, and a microphone didn’t faze them. We began our conversation from the beginning of their family farm. This is usually one of my favorite parts – learning the history. And their story wasn’t any different.
Kenneth’s father started the farm during the Great Depression and continued into post-World War II. Growing up, some of his first memories are riding with his dad on a two row, Black Hawk planter being pulled by two mules. He talked about the first tractor they owned, raising cattle, and being an FFA member. The more he reminisced, the more his eyes lit up.
After high school, Kenneth attended college and then worked for his brother in the insurance business. But every time he passed a farm, he knew where his heart really wanted to be. So in 1972, Kenneth bought his family’s Allis Chalmers 185 tractor and enough equipment to farm 250 acres.
If you want to hear more from Ben and Kenneth about their family farm, watch the behind-the-scenes video.
Since then, and with the help of his son Ben, they now farm 3,200 acres of row crops.
While I could have sat there for hours listening to Kenneth tell stories of the farm, I was eager to talk with Ben. He’s a young farmer, married with three little boys.
Growing up, Ben was like most farm kids. Asking for toy tractors at Christmas and riding his pedal tractor in the barn lot. But for him, his interest in agriculture really grew when he joined FFA. (In fact, Ben was the State FFA President in 1995.) It was in FFA, that Ben found a love of raising hogs, something he still does today.
For Ben, he believes it’s important you do something in life that you not only feel you’re good at, but enjoy doing. There was never a question as to what he wanted to do after college. He wanted to farm.
Now with a family of his own, Ben’s looking toward the future. All three boys show an interest in farming, whether it’s working on tractors or helping with the hogs. Some of his fondest memories are when the boys ask questions about how a tractor works or why he’s doing something a certain way.
Ben and Jennifer Moore with their three sons Miller, Tate and Tyler.
But Ben’s not the only farmer in the family. His wife, Jennifer, manages a 4,000 sow hog operation in a nearby town. I didn’t get the opportunity to meet her, but I can tell those three little boys have two amazing parents. Farm parents who are teaching their boys about faith, family and farming.
As the interview came to an end, I had one question left. Same question as always.
Why do you farm?
Of course, Ben loves watching plants pop up in the spring and being a part of the outdoors, but it’s really about those three little boys. Because Ben isn’t just living his dream, he’s giving them the opportunity to live theirs.
Watch Ben’s official Why I Farm video below.
Author: Ashley Fischer
Categories: Why I Farm
Tags: farming, farmer, tennessee farming, Why I Farm, #whyifarm, corn, soybeans, FFA, Why I Farm movement, hogs
Marketing Communications Manager at Beck's.
7/31/2014 1:13 PM
What a nice article. This story relates to many many farm families.
7/31/2014 8:06 PM
I enjoyed the video and article on the Moore farm
8/15/2014 1:27 PM
I grew up on a farm in Tenn. Unfortunately, due to circumstances I had to move away. I miss it more than words can say. I live in a suburb out side Chicago now. At my age and my family being here, it's not possible to go back. Everybody should learn to appreciate what they have, when they have it. You never know when it will be gone.