Big Ag cares

Darrell and I during corn harvest '09. We'll harvest the '10 crop in a couple of weeks

The family that farms our land in Kansas is a great one.  I grew up with Darrell, went to school from 1st grade through college graduation, and he was best man in my wedding.  Our families were always close and doing things together, so when it was clear our farm couldn’t support both my parents and my new family, it was really logical that Darrell should farm our land for us as part of his family’s operation.

From 1st grade, Darrell was a farmer at heart.  While my friends and I would play with cars on the sidewalk at recess, Darrell would be in an open dirt area with his John Deere tractors.  There was never a doubt what his vocation would be.  After his graduation from college and marriage, Darrell and his wife instilled a love for the farm, the land, and the lifestyle in their children.  Now, his two sons plan to come back to the farm, and at least one daughter just might be there, too.

I suppose some would call Darrell’s operation ‘Big Ag.’  The farm includes his two brothers and their families, his father, until his passing just a few years ago, and whatever children may return when the time comes.  Yes, they have thousands of acres.  Mostly corn, soybeans, wheat, and milo.  But this farm supports those four families, helps support our family, and the families of those working for him, both year-round and seasonally.

But one thing that was paramount in my dad’s mind when he was on the farm, and in Darrell’s dad as well, and now clearly in Darrell’s, was the desire to have the farm in good shape and ‘sustainable’ so it could be passed on to the next generation.

That’s why our discussions each year deal with input amounts and safety, water use, new crops, no-till or minimum-till, and many other ‘sustainable’ issues.  The idea that our parents, or that we, would do anything to harm this land or water and possibly keep that next generation from farming this land is unthinkable. Darrell is a very proactive guy.  He serves and has served on several boards and works with government agencies to find science-based, common-sense solutions to farming issues.  He loves and cares for the land.  He wants to watch his children take over the farm.  I’m glad he, and others like him, farm our land and the land around us.  We are blessed to have caring farmers in this country, and we should be thankful daily.


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