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Why I Farm

BECK'S WHY I FARM ROADTRIP: Iowa FARMER, Bryan Kuntz

Published on Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Farming hasn’t been always been easy for Bryan Kuntz or his dad, Keith.

At 12 years old, Keith got his start farming in southeast Iowa after his father passed. He went on to attend Iowa State and came back to the Oakville area to farm with his brother.

Over the years, the farm grew to include the next generation, Bryan and two of his cousins. In 2008, devastating floods changed the Kuntz’s farming operation dramatically. Through it all, they’ve chosen to be thankful.

Eight years ago, heavy June rains brought high water to the area.

Despite the small community’s brave efforts, high water brought destruction. “The day that the levee broke down there, we were in a couple different spots, just trying to save it. You knew what was going to happen, but you still weren’t prepared for it when it did happen.” Bryan recalls. “To see the devastation that people had to go through - the crops lost, the homes lost, the animals lost, all kinds of stuff. But the sense of community was definitely alive.”

Many acres of the Kuntz family farm were flooded out. Keith lost his home. When the water receeded, it was clear that the future of the farm would be different. Keith and his brother split their partnership. “Now, Bryan and I farm the Wapello area and some Oakville bottom ground. It wasn’t easy to separate when you own all the machinery together.” Keith explains. “But, it’s been good because now I can work with Bryan and my brother can work with his boys.”

 

 

“That split has been able to change our relationship and we’ve become a lot closer in just working together on stuff.” Bryan smiles. “In 2008, that flood was terrible, but in my mind, it’s a good thing because we were able to get to this point we’re at today. Obviously all the devastation that happened in that flood was terrible, but coming out of that, I think God had a plan. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing today. Faith, family and farming is being held true.”

 

Through the trials and triumphs, it’s taken the whole family to keep pushing forward. “We’re sitting out here today, I’ve got dad in the grain cart, I’m combining, my brother-in-law is running the beans in, and my wife just brought me something for lunch, so it’s a real family business. It’s just a way of life. I wouldn’t want to do anything different. My dad has been farming for 54 years. I know he won’t ever do anything else. He’s instilling that in me as we go along.”

 

 

Similarly, Bryan’s three children are learning from watching him work. “I hope they learn that farming is hard work. It is stressful work. What other business puts a seed out in the ground and completely leaves it up to God on what is going to happen? Obviously we’re going to put fertilizer on, we’re going to take care of it the best we can, but we also know that our end result is totally effected by what He gives us. And if he wants to bless us, he blesses us with a bountiful harvest. That’s where faith comes in for sure.”

 

“You can’t get up every day without thanking God for giving you the opportunity to come out here in the field, whether it’s harvest season, planting season, growing season, or winter planning. You only get so much time on this earth. If you can spend that time with your family and your friends, the people that are close to you, every single day, there’s nothing better. Even when commodity prices are terrible, there’s still nothing better than sitting here combining beans and unloading on the go with my dad catching me. There’s nothing better to me than doing what we’re doing today.”

 

That’s why Bryan Kuntz farms.

 

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