From our farms to your table, all food has a story.

Illinois Farm Families Blog

Feb 28 2014

Why I Love Farming: Peace and Quiet of Country Life

I am a part-time farm worker and grew up on a farm in the Carlinville area. I went on a different course in life but have always loved being in the field. I love meeting other farmers and learning so much from the new farmers of today. I also love the beautiful scenes I see when I am in the field, like the one I photographed this fall [above]. The peace and quiet of country life and farming is the best there is.

Ron Schneider
Pawnee, Illinois

Originally featured in November 2012 in Prairie Farmer Magazine.
Reposted with permission.

Feb 24 2014

Why I Love Farming: Love and Success

Though I’m only 20 years old, I can still say harvest time “takes me back.” I have memories of nights spent sleeping on the floor of the combine, using Daddy’s Carhart jacket as a blanket and pillow. I have memories of days spent in car seats, strapped into the grain truck next to Mom as we made trip after trip to the elevator, collecting Tootsie Pops as we went. I can remember my 6-year-old self doing math homework in the combine, as I carried on about my day at school. And who doesn’t have memories of playing in the beans?

Looking back, it’s no wonder I fell in love with this work, with this way of life. Now that I’m at the University of Illinois pursuing a degree in agribusiness,  I find myself making special trips home to sit in our combine, to hear the rustle of the corn, even to breathe the red dog. For better or for worse, in good years and in bad, this farming lifestyle is the one for me.

Erin Ehnle
Princeville, Illinois

Originally featured in November 2012 in Prairie Farmer Magazine.
Reposted with permission

Erin Ehnle is the girl behind "Keeping it Real: Through the Lens of a Farm Girl." She combines beautiful photography with key farm facts to share the story of agriculture with consumers via social media. Check out her Facebook page to learn more.

Feb 21 2014

Why We Love to Farm: It's About Family

The primary thing I love about farming is that it is a family business. Everyone is involved in some capacity, even when young. We all work together to care for our animals and there is a lot of fun involved even when we are working hard and the weather is not cooperating. When we “work” cattle (give vaccinations and identifying ear tags) even our teacher daughter-in-law will help out. One of the nicest things my farmer husband ever gave me for Christmas was a propane heater for the barn so when we had to work cattle in the winter I could be comfortable. He has been teased about that for years, but I appreciated it! 

I have done everything on the farm in some way, but I am mainly the bookkeeper. Our farming daughter-in-law has taken over the combining for the most part. My husband, son, and hired hand do most of the work. Our attorney son helps out on weekends when he can. We have hired students from the local Junior College for summer work and our current helper is one of those graduates.

Since we feed cattle, someone has to be available every day to feed them and make sure they are healthy. Spring and fall field work makes for long days. That’s when everyone really chips in.  We all work well together to get the crops planted or harvested. Sometimes just little things, like a snack brought out in the middle of the morning, can make the difference in how things go.

With all the work, though, we have some flexibility in our work days. As long as someone is available to feed and care for the cattle, we can leave the farm for time off for appointments, visits, and even vacations.  Now that we have a third primary person, it makes it even easier.

Even though our farm is technically a corporation, we are all family!

JoAnn Adams
Sandwich, Illinois

Throughout the month of February, we're asking farmers what it is they love about their job. Whether it's being good stewards of the land or working alongside their families, we'll be sharing stories from different farmers. Do you farm? Share with us why you love what you do in the comments below!

Feb 17 2014

Why We Love to Farm: For Our Children's Future

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time, and the reason why we love to farm: for our children's future, so that they can farm someday. 

Our daughter, Ainsley, talking to "Curious George."

Carrie Pollard
Rockford, Illinois

Carrie and her husband, Brent, work with dairy cows and pigs in northern Illinois. Learn more about everyday happenings on their farm by reading her blog, My Cows and Pigs.

Throughout the month of February, we're asking farmers what it is they love about their job. Whether it's being good stewards of the land or working alongside their families, we'll be sharing stories from different farmers. Do you farm? Share with us why you love what you do in the comments below!

Feb 14 2014

Why I Love Farming: A Welcome Burden of Responsibility

I farm because I believe that hard work, forged in the crucible of faith, family, and challenge, is the grandest lifestyle anyone can pursue. No joy surpasses what a farmer earns—wages for work, but also fulfillment in serving others. I stand on some of the same earth doing the same things that my Great, Great Grandfather did, and I pray that my Great, Great Grandchildren will choose to do. Times change, values do not. We face challenges, but do so with the welcome burden of responsibility: to past generations in their honor, to succeeding generations for their future, to our community and world for their health, and to ourselves for the dignity farmers have in helping life beget life - one plant, one animal, one neighbor, one friend at a time. This is why I farm. 

Andrew Bowman, fifth generation farmer from Oneida, Ill., pauses from planting soybeans to watch the sunset. Andrew and his wife Karlie have one son, Ryker, and farm with Andrew’s parents, Lynn and Sally Bowman in addition to serving farmers through insurance and consulting enterprises. 

Throughout the month of February, we're asking farmers what it is they love about their job. Whether it's being good stewards of the land or working alongside their families, we'll be sharing stories from different farmers. Do you farm? Share with us why you love what you do in the comments below!

Feb 10 2014

Why I Love Farming: The Feeling of Accomplishment

I Love Farming

I love the sunrise in the sky
A beautiful sight to see
A clear view is mine each morning
For endless fields surround me

I love action in the barnyard
Birds singing and trees sway
The dog is busy tracing tracks
Ready to explore and play

I love the scent of the outdoors
Flower blooms and drops of rain
Fresh cut grass and the soil
Livestock and harvested grain

I love to live where I work
And to work where I live
That farming is a way of life
There is no alternative

I love that farming equals family
A setting where children learn
Life lessons while working and growing
They will be ready for their turn

I love the slower pace of winter
And the spring and harvest sprint
The hard work it takes to end with
Feelings of accomplishment

I love that farming God’s creation 
Daily reminds me of His power
Challenges, hardships, or successes
Put it in His hands through prayer

Krista Swanson
Oneida, Illinois

Throughout the month of February, we're asking farmers what it is they love about their job. Whether it's being good stewards of the land or working alongside their families, we'll be sharing stories from different farmers. Do you farm? Share with us why you love what you do in the comments below!

Feb 07 2014

Why I Love Farming: Being a Part of Nature's World


Working the land before sunrise. 
Working beyond sunset. 
Riding in the tractor with no radio - an open cab is great for really being there. 
The smell of fresh baled hay.  
The smell and feel of dirt.  
Finishing just before the rain. 
Riding with my wife and family to the field.  
Spending time with your favorite dog. 
Helping a cow give birth; watching the calf grow. 
Feeding cattle in the barn and hearing the sound of chewing on a winter day.   
Watching plants grow and being a part of nature's world

Mike Kenyon
Illinois

Throughout the month of February, we're asking farmers what it is they love about their job. Whether it's being good stewards of the land or working alongside their families, we'll be sharing stories from different farmers. Do you farm? Share with us why you love what you do in the comments below!

Nov 22 2013

Why I Farm - Bryon Coffman



"As a farmer your day starts as soon as your feet hit the ground. You can’t escape work on the farm. There are no sick days or weather delays. You have a job to do and it’s on you to get that job done. That might mean working from dawn to dusk or not seeing your family for days on end. Sure, it’s hard. But they understand. They know it’s a lifestyle. Most people have a hard time grasping that. But to us, farming, it’s what we know. It’s what we grew up doing. For me, farming was given. I was never pushed to farm. It just came naturally. I always thought if the opportunity was there, that’s all I ever wanted to do."

Bryon Coffman
Moweaqua, IL

To find out more about Beck's Hybrid's "Why I Farm" contest and to view more "Why I Farm" videos, visit www.WhyIFarm.com.

Sep 26 2013

Why I Farm - Steve Sowers



"Growing up on the farm, it just became a part of me. There’s just something special about working on the same land that my dad and grandfather started farming on. My dad taught me how to plow on the same field I taught my son to plow. The land becomes bigger than just a piece of land. It becomes a piece of your family. But I have to give credit where credit is due. This land that our family has been privileged to farm is a gift from God."     

Steve Sowers,
Colchester, IL

To find out more about Beck's Hybrid's "Why I Farm" contest and to view more "Why I Farm" videos, visit www.WhyIFarm.com.

Sep 19 2013

Why I Farm - Tony Beck



“Farming is the initial occupation that God provided man with and it is the foundation of our society. He placed each of here to become caretakers and stewards of the land. I believe that God has given us abilities, talents and desires and farming has been one of the desires that He has allowed me to fulfill.”

Tony Beck
Allerton, IL

To find out more about Beck's Hybrid's "Why I Farm" contest and to view more "Why I Farm" videos, visit www.WhyIFarm.com.