By Andrew Barsness | When I started farming in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was in for. My naiveté spared me the appropriate terror and trepidation that may have deterred a well-informed individual from such an endeavor.
By John Wepking | For my parents’ generation of farmers, repairing a punctured tire or slaughtering and butchering a steer was fairly common knowledge, passed down to them from their parents. When there are so few young farmers, what happens to all this knowledge?
By Mai Nguyen | There aren’t plenty of fish in the sea of heritage grain, so I started growing out and scaling up the varieties I need. To start, I requested a batch of seed from the USDA germplasm, and they gave me 25 seeds. I have one chance each year to grow them out.
By Andrew Barsness | Along with blood, sweat, and tears, farming requires a significant financial investment, and grain farming is one of the most capital-intensive types of farming.
By John Wepking | As anyone who has had a garden can attest, buying seed is one of the most exciting activities of the farming year. Seed-buying is always full of hope and promise—nothing has had the opportunity to go wrong… yet.
By John Wepking | In late January, a surprise calf was born on our farm. We had been looking forward to our first calving, but we weren’t expecting any births until late April, when the weather would be warmer and the cows would all be on good green grass.
By Mai Nguyen | I grew up knowing my roots in stories of loss. Though their home had been destroyed and their country lost, my family shared these stories and the traditions around them so that they could keep our culture alive in a new place. This is part of why I became a farmer.
By Andrew Barsness | My grandfather was still farming one 60-acre field when he died at the age of 87. Blind in one eye, partially deaf, and unsteady on his feet, he strung wire between the farm buildings to hang onto as he walked from one building to the next.