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Why I Farm: Behind the Movement

Tour Stop #10: Martin Marr, New Berlin, IL

Published on Thursday, January 16, 2014

No guts, No glory. A saying I learned early in life and one I’ve strived to live by. For as long as I can remember, this is something my parents have truly embodied. And if they ever doubted themselves, it never showed.   

They taught me to have grit, take a few risks, and have confidence. I’ve learned that life will knock you down, probably more than once, but it’s not the number of times you fall, it’s how you get back up.


My parents are farmers. And like most farmers, they’ve had their fair share of challenges.

But as a farmer, you persevere. You learn to take risks in order to reap the rewards. And if you do fall, you get back up, dust off the dirt, and tackle the next challenge.

It was during an interview with a central Illinois farmer that I wasn’t just reminded of my life motto, but how you strive to instill values in your children in order to pass the torch onto the next generation.

Tour Stop #10 – Martin Marr, New Berlin, IL
From the moment I stepped out of the truck, I felt like I was having a conversation with my dad. Similar personalities and mannerisms, their philosophies are almost identical.

My conversation with Martin Marr, or Marty as many of his friends call him, took place on a Friday morning in April 2013. By the time I reached MDM Farms Inc in New Berlin, IL, I had traveled almost 600 miles and interviewed three farm families for the Why I Farm movement.

I was living my dream. I was traveling, meeting new people, learning about myself, and most of all talking about my passion...farming.

Even with the sun warming our backs, the spring air had a chill. As we walked into the farm office, I noticed family pictures and photo albums on the table.

After fumbling around with my audio recorder, I was finally settled and ready to start. I could tell Marty was a little nervous, but once he started talking about his childhood, the slight nervousness in his voice dissipated and a confidence emerged.


Over the years Marty has watched the farm evolve into more than a farm. It’s grown into a business. Something I’ve heard my dad say a 100 times. Because the farms today are not the farms they were 50 years ago. There are more details, whether it’s technical or financial and you constantly have to plan, always trying to stay a step ahead.

For Marty, preparing the farm for the next generation has never been more important. With three Marr men currently involved in the farm, (Marty, his brother, and oldest son) Marty’s two youngest boys also have a desire to join the family business one day.    


So how do they plan to reach that goal? By always improving business practices; maintaining and building solid relationships; and being good neighbors.

But Marty isn’t just a farmer, he’s a dad. And he wants to instill the same qualities in his kids that were passed down from his father.

     Never stop trying;

     Be persistent;

     Take pride in your work;

     Make the most of each day;

     And always have a determination to succeed;

     Because in farming, you never know when you’ll get a curve ball.

For over an hour I watched Marty’s face light up when he talked about his family, and then turn somber when he talked about the importance of telling our story – the story of agriculture.

Like all interviews, it had to come to an end, but there was one question left. Why do you farm? His answer. You’ll just have to watch his Why I Farm video.




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Ashley Fischer
Ashley Fischer>

Ashley Fischer

Marketing Communications Manager at Beck's.

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1 comments on article "Why I Farm: Behind the Movement"

Bonnie Wood

1/17/2014 1:32 PM

I loved reading this and loved the video even more! It is so " our story" as well :). I have goose bumps and tears!

Thank You!

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