Published on Saturday, February 11, 2017
It’s been said, “If you don’t challenge yourself, you will never realize what you can become.” In 2003, Adam Baldwin chose to accept the challenges of farming when he returned home to McPherson, Kansas.
Growing up, his dad made it clear that if Adam wanted to farm, they’d find a way to make it work. As a kid, he liked raising animals. There was nothing better than following his dad around. “We used to get a pop and split a pack of peanut M&Ms.” Adam remembers. “Dad still had open-cab tractors and would come home just black with dirt. I'd go right below the swing set where there was no grass and rub dirt on my face so I could be like him.”
As Adam got older, sports and other things captured his attention. “I just wasn't really paying attention. Dad always said he was waiting for me to get to high school and he’d have a good worker, but I was just never there.” Adam recalls.
When it was time for college, farming wasn’t his focus. But as it does for many people, college gave Adam a new perspective. At school, he joined a fraternity and made friends with several guys who wanted to go home and farm but didn’t have the opportunity. Soon, he began rethinking his career path.
After graduation, Adam returned to McPherson to begin farming with his dad. “He has his ground and I have my ground." Adam explains. "We both own some equipment. We own some by ourselves and some together. That was partly because he wanted me to be able to make decisions and not just be a hired man.”
Over the last 14 years, Adam’s farm and family have grown. He and his wife, Kim, are now raising their two children immersed in this way of life. “I want to continue that heritage and expose my kids to something that not a lot of kids are able to experience.” She says. Although Kim works full time as a teacher, she faithfully brings the evening meal and kids to the field during the busiest seasons.
“I don't think she knows how much we appreciate it.” Adam says. “We probably don't express it enough. Sometimes that's the only time the kids get to see me is a little bit in the morning and then at supper when they come ride with me for a little bit. In the summer when she's out of school, she's helping us move equipment and people, keep people fed, and doing a parts run every now and again.”
As the kids ride a few laps in the tractor or eat dinner in the field, Kim knows they’re learning valuable life lessons. “That's the big thing that I want my kids to see, that value of hard work.” She explains. “Adam works so hard and enjoys what he's doing. It’s important to me to have the kids see that hard work pays off, and can be enjoyable too. I want them to see that dedication.”
Dedication is critical on the farm. “The hours could be a lot better, you could have a lot more consistent income. You could not have to rely on the weather for profitability, but that's the bad parts. If you want the good parts, you have to deal with the bad parts.”
At the end of the day, the good parts make it all worth it. “I think those times you really get one with God are when it's crack of dawn and you've been planting for an hour already and you see the sun come up. Or dead still evenings. I get to see the miracle of that.” Adam smiles.
"Why do I farm? The heritage and the challenge of it. I think the biggest thing is learning to adapt and take whatever situation you're given. I picked up several pieces of ground that had major weed issues or compaction issues and they weren't as productive as they could have been. Turning those pieces into highly productive ground, that's where I get the enjoyment. The science of it. I didn't appreciate farming like I do now, until I was at school as an agronomy major. I was able to take the knowledge I learned and apply it to the farm to understand more of why we did it."
That’s why Adam and Kim Baldwin farm.
Author: Natalina Sents
Categories: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, corn, cattle, Wheat, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtip, Kansas, Adam Baldwin, Kim Baldwin