It's a passion for farmers to raise these animals with as much care as they would any animal.

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Farmers are passionate about the environment and sustainability

There's a strong desire to protect the land, water and air for future generations

Conservation practices:

  • We live on this land and drink this water
  • We believe in protecting natural resources and the environment
  • We produce food, fiber and energy to keep our communities vibrant and healthy
  • We take extra measures to conserve water and soil
  • We use only the necessary amount of nutrients to grow healthy plants

Perspectives

Amina Nevels

Amina Nevels

Chicago, IL

Full Profile

About Me

I’m a wife and mother of two girls, and I’m an active blogger and knitter. My family relies on me to make healthy food decisions for them which sometimes proves challenging. When I'm not wrecking my brain about food, we spend our time reading, singing and dancing and cuddling!

Why I'm touring farms

The combination of healthy food and budgeting is important to me. I want to learn more about the process by which food arrives at my grocery store as well as the inside scoop on genetically modified foods. I look forward to learning more about the ABC's of food production and am hoping to dispel some of the myths that influence my shopping practices.

From a Mom

As our world continues to evolve, our food industry has to adapt alongside of it. In practical terms, with millions more people on the earth, the days of free roaming animals that eat off of the land, and farmers driving horse-drawn plows... are gone. With farmers being charged with feeding more than just their family and their town, and with less space to do it, farmers (although still good stewards of the land) are seeking efficient and effective ways to raise livestock and cultivate the land within the changing times.

Dale & Linda Drendel Family

Dale & Linda Drendel Family

Hampshire, IL

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About our family

Dale and Linda married in 1974, and began dairying at the present location. Linda has been a middle school/high school teacher for 25 years, and presently does calf chores, show barn chores, farm bookkeeping and has a part-time job off the farm.

Their oldest daughter, Carrie, lives in Normal, Ill., with her husband, Ryan, and their daughter, Olivia.

Dale and Linda’s son, Jeff, farms with them.  Their youngest daughter, Julie, is editor of the Illinois Holstein Herald.


About our food

Dale and Linda milk 150 registered Holstein dairy cows and have 130 heifers/calves. They also grow 300 acres of corn, 32 acres of wheat, 112 acres of beans, and 170 acres of oats/alfalfa (hay).

About our farm

Dale is a fifth generation farmer, and Linda is a seventh generation farmer.  Dale began farming with his parents after high school graduation in 1970.  The partnership with Dale’s parents, George and Marcella, progressed until January 1, 2009, when Dale and Linda took over the farm completely as Lindale Holsteins.

Dale & Linda on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is more about who we are rather than what we do. There’s more to our family than breeding good cows and winning the show ring. We’re committed to the registered Holstein breed and to promoting a positive image of agriculture.

The best thing about being a farmer

Working in the outdoors, being one’s own boss, no two days are ever the same, a sense of pride in helping to feed the world.

From a Farmer

Our dairy cows' manure is a big advantage to me because it's fertilizer for crops. We have a custom applicator who comes in to agitate it, and then they will hose it and inject it directly into the ground.

Diane Letson

Diane Letson

Chicago, IL

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About Me

I am a mom of an 8-year-old daughter. Food is a daily focus, from encouraging my picky eater to try new foods and my passion for cooking to my job securing food donations for Feeding America.

Why I'm touring farms

I believe that food can delight, comfort and give people hope. I look forward to learning more about how food is grown and harvested. I want to better understand challenges farmers face to sustain a crop or care for farm animals as they stive to provide healthy food.

From a Mom
Touring the farm instilled in me an appreciation for the planning and continuous work that the Jeschkes do to ensure their land is kept safe and healthy. Paul Jeschke said early in the tour, Part of our responsibility to the environment is to give the soil what it needs." Give the soil what it needs - those words kept resonating with me especially when it comes to biotechnology. Seed variety or engineered seeds allow farmers to be more efficient, save money otherwise spent on pesticides and herbicides - which in my opinion and the Jeschkes' can be harmful, and create a more responsible way to ensure the success of the plant or crop. New varieties of seeds must be grown in test plots and endure a seven to 10 year application process through the USDA.
Mike & Lynn Martz Family

Mike & Lynn Martz Family

Maple Park, IL

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About our family

We have a son, Justin, our daughter-in-law, Jamie, our grandson, Jaxson and our granddaughter Jaedyn.

About our food

We grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 6,350 acres. We can also raise 3,500 beef cattle at a time on our feedlot.

About our farm

We’ve been farming since 1979, when we formed the Larson Farms Partnership with Lynn’s father, Ray, and her brothers, Dave and Norm.

We spent the first nine years managing the cattle backgrounding operation in Wisconsin. (Backgrounding means raising the calves on pasture and getting them ready for the feedlot.)  

In 1988, we moved to the main farm in Maple Park. Mike worked with Lynn’s father, Ray, managing the feedlot (where we use high-energy rations to “finish” the cattle, which means getting them ready for market). Lynn handled the billing for our custom feedlot.

 

In 1996, Lynn’s brothers, Norm and Dave, had the opportunity to work with Case IH to develop a crop scouting business (a service to farmers where professionals monitor and evaluate crop health and growth). So at that time, Lynn started to manage the cropping side of the farm.  And our sister-in-law Barb (Norm’s wife) took over the cattle billing as the crop acres began to grow in size. 

Our son Justin joined the Larson Farms Partnership in 2011.

Mike & Lynn on...

Our farming philosophy

To provide safe, nutritious, wholesome beef products to consumers with humane treatment of each animal and production practices that are environmentally friendly.

The best thing about being a farmer

Seeing the fruits of our labor. Though the weather and markets can be challenging, it’s very rewarding to see our accomplishments.

From a Farmer

Lynn Martz - If you've ever read about "farming by the foot" this is what that technology is about. In the past you would take a soil test and determine the average for a whole field. Now, we make grids by 2.5 acres. We create maps for pH, phosphorus and nutrient needs. We bring a machine in and only put nutrients on where we need it. We're never over applying nutrients more than what that soil needs.

Sarah Decker

Sarah Decker

Grayslake, IL

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About Me

Our family enjoys being outdoors – whether it’s biking or playing in the park. We also like to attend Lake County Forest Preserve programs, such as Little Sprouts, which teaches kids about gardening and other agricultural topics.

Why I'm touring farms

Farming has changed so much, even since my grandfather was an active farmer. I want to learn about how farmers are becoming more innovative and flexible in their day-to-day operations, as well as how technology has improved production.

From a Mom

The biggest challenge, it seems to me, would be how to respond to Mother Nature throughout the growing season. Even with hard work, the best of intentions, highest levels of knowledge, experience, and precision tools, Mother Nature can be damaging or can even take it all away in a very short time.

Susan Herold

Susan Herold

Rolling Meadows, IL

Full Profile

About Me

I have two sons and a daughter, ages 7, 8 and 12. I've lived in the Chicagoland area my entire life, but my husband has family who used to farm. I looked forward to visiting their farm when we were nearby. Agriculture has always intrigued me and I want to learn more.

Why I'm touring farms

I want to learn about agriculture and hope to open the eyes of my fellow suburbanites to all that farmers do for us. I have questions about chemical and hormone use that I look forward to discussing with farmers.

From a Mom

I have to admit that I got chills as I looked over the acres of corn coming up and when I looked closely through the no-till field for the soybeans. It was breathtaking to see so many plants as far as the eye can see. It is the same feeling I get when my perennials come back in the spring. It is the miracle of creation that I will never get tired of discovering.

What's your perspective?

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