Sometimes it takes moving away to realize that home is where your heart is.
Growing up in southern Wisconsin, Shellie Zweifel was in 4-H and FFA. After high school, she packed up for Iowa State University to study agriculture. “The big dream job was to work somewhere like USDA.” Shellie remembers.
Categories: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, dairy, Natalina Sents, Wisconsin, Why I Farm Roadtrip
Carrie Mess has always been an animal lover, but growing up as a city kid, she never imagined that she’d become known by so many as Dairy Carrie.
“I had no farm background whatsoever. I was the girl that never grew out of loving horses.” Carrie laughs. “Before the cows, I rodeoed and stuff. Horses were my gateway into ag. I had horses from the time I was 16. I went to an auction and bought my first horse and didn’t even have a place to take it. I figured it out, clearly. He’s still in my pasture at my house.”
Like many farmers, Wayne Edgerton has always appreciated being connected to the land.
Although he grew up on a dairy in Wisconsin, he moved away for college and a career with the State of Minnesota, helping farmers implement conservation measures on their ground. “I lived in the Twin Cities for over 30 years.” He explains.
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Wisconsin, Why I Farm Roadtrip, organic, Wayne Edgerton, Nuts Edge Farm, hazelnuts, hickory, nuts
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.
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
Tucked between conventional dairy farms in north central Wisconsin is a small farm that Kat Becker and Tony Shultz have made their home. They farm for many reasons. “Our farm is called Stoney Acres Farm. We’re a certified organic, third generation family farm in Marathon County.” Kat smiles.
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, vegetables, organic
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.
Tags: Beck's Blog, farmer, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, corn, soybeans, Thanksgiving, Natalina Sents, Iowa, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Bryan Kuntz
Raised on a family farm in Illinois, veteran Matt Swanson always knew he wanted to return someday, but wasn’t sure when it would happen. After being medically retired from the military in 2008, he’s thankful for the experiences that shaped his outlook as a farmer.
Tags: Why I Farm, corn, soybeans, Illinois farmer, cattle, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Matt Swanson, Veterans Day, Veteran, Farmer veterans
Alaskan farmer Scott Plagerman has always enjoyed doing his own thing. His approach to farming is no exception. “I guess I don’t like doing what everybody else is doing all the time,” he explains. “That’s most of the people up here farming. That’s kind of the way they are, doing something different and they like the challenge.”
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Alaska, Scott and Connie Plagerman
Raised on a farm in Nebraska, Russ Pinkelman never imagined he’d grow up to be a farmer in Alaska. But after coming to Alaska with friends in 1977, Russ never looked back. However, it wasn’t agriculture that drew him to The Last Frontier.
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Alaska, Bison, beef farmer, cattle farmer
Wayne Salisbury’s Rhode Island farm has been a part of the family for seven generations. As an agritourism destination, over the last twenty years, the farm has become important to other families as well.
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Rhode Island, Wayne Salisbury
Most people can relate to the need for a new challenge. For some, that may look like a small shift in their routine. For others, it’s an entire lifestyle makeover. In Matt Steinberg’s case, farming turned out to be just the change of pace he was looking for.
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, New Jersey, alpaca, Matt Steinberg
For some people, farming allows them to chase their dream. To others, farming is a way to carry on a family tradition. For Bea Tassot and her husband, Jean-Claude, farming allows them to do both.
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, New Jersey, Bea Tassot
For Sue McCrum, potato farming is a family affair. Siblings, cousins, parents and children each use their individual talents to fulfill specific roles on their family’s farm in northern Maine.
She has plenty of experience picking potatoes, but these days Sue serves the farm best by sharing her family’s story as an active member of the community and former American Agri-Women President. She passionately advocates for family farms like hers close to home and in Washington D.C.
Tags: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Maine farmer, Pam Townsend, Sue McCrum, potatoes
Surrounded by the beautiful Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, Mike Bulich and his family raise mushrooms on their New York farm. Like many farms across the United States, a lot has changed since the Bulich Mushroom Company got its start in 1945.
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For over 30 years, Theresa Freund has warmly greeted the customers visiting her East Caanan, Connecticut farm market in search of fresh produce, gift items and baked goods.
“When Amanda was born, I realized I couldn’t really milk cows and chase after heifers. I tried, I really did try.” Theresa recalls. “I put her in a little carrier on my back and I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll help you catch that heifer.’ But then all of the sudden I was slipping and I had this baby. I even tried putting her in a little carrier outside the barn and there she was, crying. So I was like, ‘Oh no, I can’t do this. This is not going to work.’ But I’m not the type of person that’s going to sit around and twiddle my thumbs, so the big garden just got bigger and bigger.”
Tags: Why I Farm, farmers, dairy, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Connecticut, Freund's Farm Market, produce, CowPots
Over the last nine years, Loren and Gina Thurn have been diligently working to grow their farm in a way that supports their family and hungry community. Through innovation and challenging themselves, the couple has built up their ornamental business and expanded into produce production. With greenhouses and hydroponics, the farm is able to provide healthy food to the local community year round.
Tags: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip, produce, Rhode Island, Loren Thurn, Gina Thurn, Our Kids Farm
When he came over from Italy, Jonathan Secchiaroli’s great grandfather settled in Connecticut to begin a farm. He started with a barn, dairy cattle, and some pigs. The pig business grew, so the family transitioned to a pork specialty. In 2011, Jonathan took over the farm, and the responsibility of providing his community with protein, from his father and oldest brother. Today, Jonathan and his wife, Hazel, live and work on the farm along with their three young children.
Farming has been a part of Jonathan’s family for generations. Hazel, however, was raised in San Diego, California, and considers herself a “city kid.” When she moved east in 2000 to be with Jonathan, Hazel experienced quite a lifestyle change. “It is sort of a different way of life, so it was an adjustment at first, but I think seeing how much the farm was really part of his family helped. His family was so welcoming.” Hazel recalls.
Tags: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Secchiaroli Farms, pig farmer, Connecticut
Joanna Lidback’s Jersey herd started with a 4-H project “gone wild.” What began as childhood lessons in science and responsibility eventually evolved into a passion.
For a while, Joanna farmed with her brother. After recognizing their different styles and ideas, they decided to pursue their goals separately. “One thing I’ve learned, and I take it with me in my consulting business is sometimes you have to know when it’s the right time to say, ‘No, this isn’t going to work. Let’s salvage our sibling relationship, in this case, and move on and do our own thing.’ That’s what’s important to me.” Joanna smiles. “It worked. We’ve been closer than ever since we went our separate ways.”
Tags: farmer, Why I Farm, dairy, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Vermont, farmher, Joanna Lidback
The Flood family has a rich history of farming near Clinton, Maine spanning more than 200 years. “The original property was deeded to an ancestor by King George," Jenni Tilton-Flood beams. "It moved through different wings of the family, but there was always somebody here, subsistence farming.”
Tags: Beck's Blog, farming, farmer, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, John Deere, farm, tractor, dairy, Family, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Maine
Jim Gilles and his father, Jimmy, raise corn, soybeans, hay, tobacco and beef cattle near Owensboro, Kentucky. As the family farm has grown and become more diverse, they’ve found their passions through the challenges farming invites them to live up to. Each crop provides opportunities to grow and improve.
Tags: Beck's Blog, farmer, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, Kentucky, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, Gilles Farms, Jim Gilles, Hill View Farms Meats