MEET

John and Holly Spangler

soybeans • corn • cattle

John and Holly Spangler

Marietta, IL

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We want to contribute

Our goal is to raise a healthy, nutritious crop in the most efficient and safest way possible. We want to contribute to the global food supply by growing the most grain and animal protein on the land and resources we have. And in doing so, we also want to create an environment and lifestyle for our family that's safe, wholesome and will help our kids grow into their full God-given potential.

Our farm and our family

We grow about 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans and deliver our crops to a river terminal where grain is loaded onto a barge for delivery down the Mississippi River. We also have a 100-head cow-calf herd. After we wean calves in the fall, we “background” them, meaning we feed them to about 900 pounds and then sell them into the feeder market.

We farm with John's parents and live just across the field from them. That, of course, allows our three kids to make many trips back and forth throughout the day. We have one full-time employee (a neighbor down the road) and approximately three part-time employees, two of which are our nephews who often work in the summer and put what they earned toward college.

The freedom in what we do

As farmers, we have the freedom to make our own decisions. We have the freedom to be our own bosses, and the freedom to raise our kids in the country where they're free to run and play and learn and work.

About my family

We grow about 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans and have a 100-head cow-calf herd in Marietta. We have three children: Jenna, Nathan and Caroline. Holly is an associate editor for Prairie Farmer magazine, a publication dedicated to sharing information and technology for improving both farm life and farm business.

My Blog Posts

How do you build character?
M&M's and Nanograms and Beef
Summertime: Work it out
The Organic Health Halo: It's real, people.
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    Label Lingo

    "It's up to us to read labels, pay attention and understand what labels really mean (and don't mean)."
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THE ORGANIC HEALTH HALO: IT’S REAL, PEOPLE.

Cornell researchers find that consumers believe organic food has fewer calories and are willing to pay nearly 25% more for it. Lesson: read the label.

Basically, a group of researchers from Cornell's Food and Brand Lab wanted to know if the "health halo" effect of organic food could lead to real bias. They offered up a pair of cookies, yogurt and potato chips to shoppers. All of the product pairs were produced organically, but they labeled one of each as "organic" and "regular." Then they offered them up to consumers to taste and rate.

"Even though these foods were all the same, the “organic” label greatly influenced people’s perceptions," they reported. In fact, consumers estimated the organic cookies and yogurt to have significantly fewer calories. And - AND - they were willing to pay up to 23.4% more for them.

If you read a label - and know what organic means - then you have a much better chance of avoiding the health halo. You can be an informed consumer. You can know that organic doesn't really mean more nutritious; you can make the decision to either buy organic or conventional food because you know the organic label is simply a description of how the food was raised, not the nutritional content.

In the end, it's up to us to read labels, pay attention and understand what terms like organic really mean (and don't mean).