Published on Saturday, December 17, 2016
They say God has a sense of humor. Looking back over the last 40 years, Wanda Patche believes it’s true.
Raised in town, Wanda was adamant she was not going to marry a farmer. “When I was in high school, my best friend lived on a farm and they had pigs. So, like best friends do, we’d stay overnight at each other’s house. We were inseparable. One night Friday night we stayed at her house. Saturday morning, she had to get up and do chores. I said, ‘Well, okay, I’m not going to help you, but I’ll come watch.’ So I did. Back in those days it meant cleaning the barn with a shovel, scooping out manure. I watched her do that and when she got done I said, ‘I will never marry a hog farmer.’”
Never say never. Today, Wanda raises pigs and row crops with her husband, Charles near Welcome, Minnesota. Their three daughters grew up on the farm and the couple enjoys having their six grandchildren out to the farm. “My grandkids will know where their food comes from.” Wanda says with a proud smile. “I think it’s really important, and they just love coming out here.”
Wanda enjoys sharing her lifestyle beyond her family through her blog, serving on the Minnesota Pork Board, and as a CommonGround volunteer. “I want to connect what we do on the farm with consumers.” She says with passion. With this mission in mind, Wanda has spent countless hours volunteering to organize farm dinners and answer the questions of concerned grocery shoppers.
When she’s not out and about in the community, Wanda can be found working on the farm. “Come spring, I’m working up ground and I put on pesticides and herbicides ahead of the planter. That is really cool because I get to use autosteer on the tractor. It makes me feel so much better because I know I’m doing a really good job. Before autosteer, I would attempt to drive straight, trying to not have a gap or overlap, but you’re human, that’s just going to happen. In the fall, I’m the combine operator. It’s actually the best job ever. I love being in the combine. Once we are finished harvesting I work on the tillage. I do all the book work and all the financial analysis. I go to the tax appointments. Any type of major decision, it’s both my husband and I. We make those decisions together.”
Although Wanda has fallen in love with agriculture, there are still tough days on the farm. “Being a farmer is not for the faint of heart, at all.” She explains. “You really need to be dedicated to it because there are many challenges.”
With the help of their faith, positive attitudes, and rural community, the Patsches persevere. They’re thankful for good neighbors that come together in the tough times.
“In the mid-80s, my father-in-law had a heart attack during harvest time.” Wanda recalls. “At the time, it was just my husband and him farming. When you have one person gone, for the farming operation, it’s pretty significant. This is why it’s so cool to be in a rural community. We had all the neighbors come with their combines and their trucks and they just showed up! Nobody called them, nobody asked them to come. They just knew we were in need and showed up. We have the really old pictures, and I just came across them the other day, but it just reminds me how special it is to live in a rural community. We’re there for each other. It’s an old story, but the values are still the same today as they were back then. I just can’t get over how people will drop everything they are doing and come to your help.”
At the end of the day, Wanda is thankful for God's plan for her life. He knew she was meant to farm.
"God has provided for us. He allows us to farm, and we just love it. We’re thankful that He put us in this position. It's very humbling and we're very proud to be farmers. To me, there’s nothing more special than providing food for other families, and that’s what we do out here."
That’s why Wanda Patsche farms.
Author: Natalina Sents
Categories: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, corn, soybeans, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Minnesota, Wanda Patsche, pigs