Published on Tuesday, November 29, 2016
As family farms across the country continue from generation to generation, change is necessary. Scott Shultz, a cranberry farmer from Warrens, Wisconsin knows this well.
“I married into the family. I’ve been here about 34 years, so basically most of my life.” He explains. “You take pride in what you have, you appreciate it every day, and you want it to last for generations to come. We’re a 5th generation family farm. We’ve been here since 1918. We’re in a generational change now and kids are coming back and working, trying to improve and better the farm.” Scott explains.
As the kids step up to take on more responsibility, Scott is proud of their hard work. “They see a job that needs to get done, they get it taken care of and they do a good job of it. They’re no sluffers.” He says with a smile. “There are trying times, but the satisfaction of knowing the whole family is here is good. When you accomplish something good and the whole family is involved, it’s a good thing.”
Each fall the whole family hosts busloads and busloads of curious guests. Visitors from near and far attending the Warren’s Cranberry Festival come to see, taste and touch life on a cranberry bog for themselves. Right in the heart of harvest, it’s a busy time of year. Scott explains the growing season to the crowds. “I’m all sad when you do the last bed because you pour out everything you have all summer growing them and when you see the last truck, then it’s time to go to work tearing things up and cleaning things up, working on our new beds and our new projects.”
Scott’s daughter, Amber is part of the incoming generation. She’s proud to be part of continuing the family tradition. During Warrens’ annual cranberry festivals, she’s led tours and answered questions about her family’s bogs. Over the years she’s learned a lot from working alongside her family. “He does a bunch of cranberry board stuff so everyone knows my dad. It’s always nice to hear good things about him from other people. ‘Oh, you’re Scott Schultz’s daughter. That’s cool.’”
Experiences off the farm have taught Amber skills she hopes to put to use on the farm full time someday. Spending time away from the farm has made her more thankful for her family’s way of life. “I’ve been in college. I’ve lived in a different city before and that’s good, I enjoy that, but nothing beats coming back home and just being able to not hear people around you, not be in the busy city life. I have my own apartment and everything, but nothing feels like home until I actually get here and take a deep breath of that swamp air. It’s always good to have those roots and just know that everything is still waiting here for you. It’s so fun being out here and seeing the hard work that’s being put in every day. It’s home.”
Scott echoes his daughter’s thoughts. Despite the constant growth and evolution of the family farm, it will always be home.
“It’s a good way to make a living. It’s a good life. That’s why I farm, I enjoy it. To be honest with you, I get up every morning at 4 or 5 o’clock. The sights you see in the morning are the best part of the day. The geese out here, eagles, swans, and deer. The solitude, the fog, the sunrises, it makes the world go ‘round."
That’s why Scott and Amber Shultz farm.
Author: Natalina Sents
Categories: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, cranberry, Warrens Cranberry Festival, Scott Shultz, Amber Shultz, Ocean Spray