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Why I Farm

BECK'S WHY I FARM ROADTRIP - North Dakota FARMER, Chris Breen

Published on Monday, January 30, 2017

Some may see being 90 miles away from a Wal-Mart in any direction as a disadvantage, but Chris Breen of Seneca, South Dakota enjoys it. “It's peaceful out here. I like that. Other people call it the middle of nowhere, but I call it the middle of everywhere.”

 

In such a rural location, it is important for their family farm to be self sufficient. Between cattle, crops and a trucking business, there’s plenty of work to go around. “We do a little bit of everything around here anymore. You just do what needs to get done. We all fill in.” Chris explains.

 

Chris grew up working on the farm alongside his five siblings, parents and grandparents. Going to college confirmed his decision to come back and farm. “I originally went to Brookings to be an engineer and then I decided I didn't want a desk job that bad. I changed my major to agriculture and the rest is history. I just made my mind up and told myself, 'No, I’m coming home. I gotta get to work.' I think I spent a total of two or three weekends in Brookings. Otherwise, I was home every weekend and sometimes in the middle of the week - and we're 185 miles from Brookings. I’d come home to either spray or help combine or do something, and then turn around and go back. I wore the tires off my old Pontiac Grand Am pretty good.” Chris smiles.

 

Even before Chris’ time, the farm has always grown to include the next generation. “Back in 1984, Pops built his old shop down in the main yard.” Chris explains. "It was 56 by 78 with a 30 ft. door on it. Grandpa Breen said, 'I don't know why you're building that thing so big. It's gonna cost a fortune to heat the place.'”

 

Now, as machinery has gotten larger and the next generation has returned, the Breens built an even larger shop. While Chris trucks and works in the field, his brothers Jeffery and Matt contribute with their training in auto body and diesel mechanics. “There ain't anything we break that we can't fix around here anymore.” Chris laughs.

 

 

Losing his mom just after high school taught Chris a lot about keeping the trials of farming in perspective. “Every day is a new day and I just don't too worked up over most of it. Yeah, we had a good run in the grain prices, and a good run in the cattle prices, but they’re in the tank now. We’ve still got trucks and they’ve still gotta work just as much at that too so between the farm, trucks, cattle, Seneca elevator custom spraying, the truck repair shop, bull rack wash out, other custom farming stuff, you can do something different every day of the week.”

 

 

Between the busy seasons, Chris enjoys seeing his own children playing in the shop, just like he used to. They motivate him to continue, even when times are tough. If they want to come home and farm, he wants there to be an opportunity for them.

 

"I grew up one of six kids here. We’d help feed cows in the morning, wash out bull racks, drive trucks, help combine, do the whole thing. You work your way up through everything, it's just like any other business. We've always been pretty self-sufficient and you don't take things for granted. We work a lot here, but we still enjoy the time we're working. I bring the kids a long to have fun here and let them see everything. Kinze, I'll have her out there when we're working cattle, she'll come out and help chase them in or she'll run a broom and learn to pick up things and listen. We get to have a little fun there and they also learn their boundaries."

 

That’s why Chris Breen farms.

 

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