Couple builds future with beef

An Ainsworth, Neb., couple reflects on what it takes to build community and a beef operation.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

March 12, 2021

8 Slides

Mark and Haley Miles both grew up in Brown County around Ainsworth, Neb., and they are passionate about their home. “We love living along the Niobrara River Valley and the unique landscapes local to Brown County and the surrounding area,” Mark says.

Since being married in 2018, the young farm and ranch couple recently welcomed their son, Bogue, into the fold. Raising a son of their own on the farm, Mark and Haley reflect on their upbringing and the support they enjoyed from parents and the community.

“One of the things I value most about my dad’s leadership is that he has trusted me and has given me the opportunities to make decisions and own the consequences, good or bad,” Mark says.

“I remind myself daily of the sacrifices that previous generations made for us to enjoy the freedoms we have as ag producers,” Mark continues. “I hope that as leaders we can preserve the foundation and continue to build a prosperous future for the next generation.”

That’s also why Mark worked with friends and neighbors for several years to bring students from Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences to Nebraska to learn firsthand about ag industries and rural communities, and to meet farmers and ranchers in person.

Click through the photo gallery to learn more about Mark and Haley’s philosophy for their farm and ranch, and their personal investment of time and talent into their community and into the beef industry.

About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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