Every farm or ranch has a story; some date back hundreds of years. I was looking through my arsenal of recent interviews and recordings of different events, and I found one of South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Bill Even, talking to a crowd at the South Dakota State Fair at the Century Farm Awards. As he congratulated those that would be honored that day, he also shared the story of his homestead. I think in challenging times, it's sometimes best not to dwell on the bad things. Maybe the market isn't where you would like it to be, and maybe your operating costs are constantly rising, but at the end of the day, we all come from somewhere, and we all have a story that we should cherish.
What's Your Story?
Today, I want to hear all about your operation. When was it established? Who lived there? Where did your ancestors come from? Who lives on the homestead now? What kind of cattle do you raise? How have things changed over the years? For inspiration, check out the podcast from Secretary Even to hear his ranch story and learn more about the South Dakota Century Farm Awards. Leave your stories in the comment section below. I'm really looking forward to hearing your past histories.
My family's cattle operation was established when my grandparents, Alvin and Devona, bought the land and surrounding buildings. The farm used to be a dairy, but it was quickly converted to a cattle and hog operation. My dad, and his two siblings, were raised on this farm, doing chores and helping to raise the livestock. Back then, my family raised Herefords and Angus, but in 1983, my dad purchased his first Limousin bull, and he has been raising Limousin ever since. Today, my parents and my two younger sisters live on the farm, and I commute from town to help as needed. My extended family is also heavily involved in beef cattle production, and my mom's parents and sisters all raise Charolais cattle within a few miles of each other near Lake Preston, S.D. While I'm trying to play a bigger role in my family's operation, today's challenges might make our multi-generation business difficult to maintain without significant changes. Nevertheless, our family remains optimistic about the future of the beef cattle industry, and that's why I love being able to communicate these ideas through this blog and other social media outlets. It's a job that affords me the opportunity to be close to home, and for that, I feel extremely blessed.
BEEF Daily Quick Fact: U.S. farmers spent $241 billion to produce their crops and livestock in 2007, an increase of $68 billion – or 39% – from 2002. The steepest cost increases were for gasoline and fuel, up 93%, and fertilizer, up 86%. (2007 Ag Census)