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CropTalk: Resilient Farmers: It Takes Heart

August 2019

Published on Thursday, August 01, 2019

Every day farmers rise to the challenge. They put on their boots and get to work — when the sun is beating down, when the wind rages with an icy chill, when the sky unleashes the rain. They face every trial life throws at them with resilience and determination all because they love to farm. If you ever wonder why a farmer does all he or she does, just talk to one, or four.

“Every year there is a little bit of adversity,” said Andy Miller, a farmer in Indiana. “We had one opportunity to plant this May, and I was in the fi eld with my windshield wipers on. We’ve never been a fan of prevent plant. We actually thought we would never take it. This year has changed that. You just want to raise a good crop. It’s more of a pride thing. It’s disappointing to see a field not planted.”

Andy rented his first farm when he was just 16 years old and now farms with his dad and uncle. As the fifth generation on the farm, this is the toughest year he has experienced to date.

“FARMING IS SOMETHING THAT IS IN YOUR BLOOD. IT’S THE FAITH THAT THERE IS ANOTHER YEAR COMING, THE HOPE THAT NEXT YEAR THE WEATHER WILL BE BETTER, AND THAT WE WILL GET TO DO WHAT WE DO THAT KEEPS US GOING.”

Bryan Kirkpatrick, an Indiana farmer and Beck’s dealer, is keeping a positive attitude and encouraging fellow farmers this year. “IT’S FARMING, STICK IT OUT. BE TOUGH. FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS. WE KNOW THAT NO YEAR IS THE SAME. DON’T EXPECT EVERYTHING TO BE PERFECT.”

Everett Severson has been part of his family's farm in Illinois since 1965. He recalls years with harsh weather conditions and low markets. In 1982, he didn’t even make a profit. “Yes, it was hard, but we kept going, and we made it,” he said. “I wanted to farm. That was my desire all my life.” Low markets and the amount of rain (or lack thereof) are not the only things farmers put up with each spring. “One year we were planting on May 4th, and it snowed so much, you couldn’t see the gauge mark,” Everett said. “The weather does throw you a curve every once and awhile.” With years of farming wisdom, Everett had this to share with farmers today:

“JUST STICK WITH IT. IT WILL WORK OUT AT THE END. FARMING IS HARD WORK, BUT THERE IS NOTHING ELSE I COULD HAVE DONE WHERE I WOULD HAVE LEARNED ALL THAT I HAVE FROM FARMING.”

Kevin Ruth, a farmer in Ohio, witnessed his father call it quits years ago. That experience has been a major motivator for him to farm as long as he can fi nancially do so, even through the hard years. “We had some pretty tough years in the midnineties,” he said. “They were a combination of weather, and the market was really low for both corn and soybeans. If people were looking for a reason to get out, that’s when they would have quit. But that is when I was just starting out, and I was determined. My dad farmed through the rough time in the 1970s. He eventually quit farming when I was nine years old. It was tough being a kid all excited about farming and dreaming about tractors; then a couple of months later, dad is having a sale. Because of that, it would take a lot to make me quit or want to quit... ...YOUR DESIRE TO WANT TO KEEP FARMING KEEPS YOU GOING. WHATEVER IT TAKES.”

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Author: Ashley Heyen

Categories: CropTalk, 2019

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