Beck's Blog

From Our Family Farm to Yours

Why I Farm: Behind the Movement

Tour Stop #8 - Steve Sowers, Colchester, IL

Published on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I don’t run machinery. I’m not an agronomist. And fixing equipment, that’s what dad’s are for, right? But I do know one thing. I’m deeply passionate about our family farm. When I moved home nearly three years ago, it was to start a new job at Beck’s Hybrids. But moving home wasn’t just to start a new job; it was to be with family and to be near the farm. 

For two years, I asked myself if there was a place for me on the farm. I mean, let’s be real. Where does a gal with no mechanical skills, no agronomy background, and very little grain marketing knowledge fit into the family farm? 


Not a bad looking family, huh? My husband, Craig, is on the far left, followed my me; my mom, Debbie; my brother, Austin; and my dad, Rand. (Photo credit: Meghan Grebner)

Do you remember my first blog? I said if you stuck with me long enough, you might just find out how the Why I Farm movement has affected my life. Well, I think it’s time I start to share. For this part of my journey, you’ll have to join me in western Illinois. Because when I left the farm of Steve and Janet Sowers, I left with a determination that I’ve never had before.

Tour Stop #8 – Steve Sowers, Colchester, IL
For two years, I struggled to figure out how I could play a role in the family farm. Was there really a place for me? Did they even want me to be a part of it? Could I make a difference on the farm? On a beautiful spring day in early April, all my questions were put to rest.

For almost three hours, I sat in the Sowers’ living room listening to stories of how their family started farming, how they raised their children on the outskirts of town, and how sometimes you just need to stop what you’re doing and appreciate life. 


"I have to give credit where credit is due; this land that our family has been privileged to farm is a gift from God." Steve Sowers, Colchester, IL

When I first arrived at the Sowers’ farm, Steve was just getting out of his truck. As we walked into the house, I instantly fell in love. Their home is beautiful – the original woodwork and antiques made me feel right at home. We walked toward the living room and Steve introduced me to his wife, Janet. I’m pretty sure she had no intention of staying for the interview, but from the look on Steve’s face, I knew he wanted her by his side.

And it was at that moment I knew that the love Steve and Janet share for each other is a love that people dream about. Throughout the interview, they finished each other’s sentences. And when Steve couldn’t find the words to say, Janet was right there picking up where he left off.

Steve is a man who gets his morning started with a cup of coffee and devotional reading. He’s a man who serves the Lord and protects his family. He’s also a man who wants to give his family everything. Just recently, Steve built Janet her dream home. Instead of building new, they remodeled their old home, making it bigger for their children and grandchildren to visit. They both lit up when talking about the home that has stood as the foundation of their family and farm.


If you're from Illinois, you might have heard of a Maid-Rite. There used to be Maid-Rite diners all over Illinois. Janet's mother used to own one, so in honor of her, they built their own Maid-Rite diner in the basement of their home.

The more I listened to them, the more I was reminded of my parents. We’re not a family who shares their feelings very willingly. But what lacks in feelings, makes up for in actions. Just like Steve, my dad built my mom her dream house 10 years ago. For as long as I can remember, Dad made sure we had a house over our heads, clothes on our body, and food in our mouths. If we ever struggled, I never knew it. He’s the type of dad who will let you know when he’s mad (red face and wrinkled forehead), but he’s also the dad that will let you know when he’s proud (he tends to like to tell the world).

When I moved home from Wisconsin, Dad told everyone. And when I joined Beck’s, Dad told everyone. The conversation with Steve and Janet made me remember all the times Dad has “told everyone,” and made me realize just how much I wanted to be part of Woodward Family Farms.

As I drove away that evening, I realized this interview wasn’t about one comment or statement. It was realizing the only person holding me back from being part of the family farm was ME. To Steve and Janet, I can’t say thank you enough. You not only opened your home to a complete stranger, but you opened your hearts. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Join me in honoring the Sowers’ family and the thousands of other American farmers, by watching his video below. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Ashley Fischer
Ashley Fischer>

Ashley Fischer

Marketing Communications Manager at Beck's.

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