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Why I Farm

BECK'S WHY I FARM ROADTRIP - Missouri FARMERs, Matt and Kate Lambert

Published on Thursday, May 4, 2017

On any given day, three generations of Lamberts can be found caring for their land and livestock near Brookfield, Missouri. Often, there’s even a fourth generation soaking it all in. “I grew up here. Dad actually started this farm.” Matt explains, sitting in the office of the home farm where he spends countless hours working alongside his dad and grandpa.

“My father-in-law, Steve, got everything bought right before the 80s hit. And then of course, barely squeaked through that.” Matt’s wife, Kate adds.

Matt grew up on the farm, immersed in agriculture. “I was driving trucks and tractors when I was about nine years old.” He smiles. Through school, Matt enjoyed showing livestock. The summer after he graduated from high school, he met Kate at a sheep show in Wyoming.

 

 

Kate grew up just 50 miles west of Chicago, but farming had been in her family. “My grandpa was the last one on the farm.” She explains. “Mom and Dad just had six acres, but dad always wanted us to have some kind of involvement in the industry. He really encouraged us to be involved in 4-H and FFA.”

“FFA is probably where my interest really took off.” Kate continues. “I had an advisor that was really good about showing me all the opportunities that were in the industry. Production agriculture was nothing that was ever on my radar. I really thought I would do ag law or something in the industry, but I certainly never pictured moving to the middle of nowhere and being here.”

But after high school, Kate followed Matt to Northwest Missouri State. Although Matt went to college with intentions of becoming a vet, he remembers calling his dad as a Junior and telling him he wanted to come home and farm.

 

 

After they finished college and got married, the couple settled in Missouri. Even though she had a passion for agriculture, adjusting to a new lifestyle wasn’t easy for Kate.

“I came back and was lucky enough to get a really good job. I work with the Farm Credit system, so during the day, things were good there, but then at home it was planting.” Kate recalls. “I had never been exposed to anything like those kinds of hours and that type of timeliness. I grew up in a house where Mom and Dad had jobs and they worked during the day and they were both home at night and on the weekends. For a long time, I took it really personally when Matt wasn’t around or we couldn’t make plans.”

Over the years, especially as their boys have gotten older, Kate has adjusted. “As I started to understand more, I didn't take it so personally. It’s not that he doesn't want to be home. He's not home because he's really got to get the crop in or out.”

Last season, Kate got to put herself in Matt’s shoes. “He let me do my own 60 acres for the blog.” Kate smiles. “That was huge, just understanding all the decisions that go into a crop that he's making on a daily basis.”

“He got corn planted and everything was done on a Tuesday or Wednesday and I waited until Saturday so I wouldn't have to take a day off work to plant it.” Kate recalls. “Matt kind of gave me a hard time and thought I should take a day off to come plant. My corn was the worst corn we harvested because it turned cold and wet later that week. And it really, it cost quite a bit of money, me doing that. Had I planted it when he told me to it probably would have worked out a little better. I get that timeliness now. That's why we can't go to that wedding or we can't do whatever. Cause when it's time to plant corn, you've got to plant corn.”

 

 

Even though they’re still little, the Lamberts appreciate their sons are learning similar lessons now. “The boys learn so much from this. Because anymore, in this day and age, so much of what they get is instant gratification. Our two-year-old is just desperately waiting for the sheep out front to have babies. And in his little mind, it just feels like it is absolutely forever. Just having to have that patience and recognize that that takes a while. To him, it's like a century. But every day he says, 'Did they have the babies yet? Did they have their babies?' He just can't wait for that to happen. I think those are really cool lessons.”

When times get tough, seeing the boys enjoy the farm reminds Matt and Kate why they love this way of life. “One of my best memories is last year when we shelled corn up at our place. It was just me and Kate shelling corn so we had to take turns with the boys. It seems like we'd make about one pass and we'd have to switch combines. They'd take turns riding with Mom and take turns riding with Dad. They kept wanting to switch.” Matt laughs.

 

 

Their sons are also more motivation to be good stewards of the land. “Matt and his dad make me really proud the way that they will try new things for the betterment of their farms.” Kate beams. “Steve was the first in the county to adapt to no-till practices. Matt came home from college with ideas about cover crops and different ways of doing things.”

“My goal is to leave the farm in better shape than when I got it.” Matt adds. “And at some point, we're going to hand it off to another generation, and another generation. That farm is going to have to be able to produce. If you don't take care of it now, it won't be there.” 

That’s why Matt and Kate Lambert farm.

 

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