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My Generation

30 Days of Farms & Families: The Buntings

Day 16: Jason and Tasha Bunting have turned a high school baling business in Livingston County into a full-time career.

I can hardly remember a time when I haven't known Tasha Bunting. Except that back then, she was Tasha Jordan and she was the cute, hard-working little girl we showed Shorthorns with. Tasha comes from a prominent Illinois Shorthorn cattle family and growing up, we ran into her family at every state fair, preview show and random sale around the state. Back in the day, her dad even wrote scholarship recommendation letters for me. (Hi Denny!) By the time she was a college student, Tasha was on the board for the American Junior Shorthorn Association and if I'm not mistaken, she pretty much organized the 2002 Shorthorn junior nationals, held in Springfield. She looked a little stressed that week. But she did a great job.

This is all to say that it was easy to tell early on that Tasha was going places. Along the way, she met and married Jason Bunting, a Livingston County native who's done two stints as chairman of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee. Tasha started out as the county manager in Piatt County, then switched to Grundy County in 2005 to be closer to home.

Illinois farm family

Today, Jason and Tasha are parents to Isabella, 4, and Samantha, 1. Back in high school, Jason started a hay baling business with his friend, Brandon Jones. They started out baling for neighbors and have built the business into a full-time operation for customers year round, baling 450 acres of hay annually. Jason also helps out with his family's farm operation, including parents Lee and Marie; uncles Art and Don; and grandparents Jim and Betty. Tasha and Jason also find themselves helping with Tasha's family's grain and Shorthorn operations.

And back on their own place? A handful of ewes, a handful of feeder steers and what Tasha calls "a small Shorthorn herd." I suspect this may be like the "small Shorthorn herd" I brought along when John and I married. He still argues this was the "for worse" part of "for better or for worse." I still argue he is so wrong.

Tasha makes a most excellent point about their family and that of consumers: "Farm families are just like theirs."

"We want the best for our kids and we do everything we can to provide a safe, healthy and fun environment for them to learn, explore and grow."

Please take a moment and soak that in.

Doesn't that sound just like what every parent wants? Whether they're on the farm or not. We all want the best for our kids and we would no sooner let them eat or drink something that's unsafe than we would let them play in traffic. We know the food we grow is safe, the beef we raise is perfectly nutritious and the well water we drink is clean. We are careful with pesticides on crops and antibiotics in livestock and we follow the rules, so we can all be safe. We wouldn't feed unsafe products to our families, and we wouldn't send them off into the marketplace for your family either.

Tasha concludes, "As parents we want to see our children develop into bright, caring individuals who hopefully will continue on in some aspect of agriculture as adults, just like they want their children to become the best they can be."

Amen, sister.

30 Days of Farm & Families
Day 1: The Webels
Day 2: The Mies Family
Day 3: The Thomases
Day 4: The Stewarts
Day 5: The Weavers
Day 6: The Hawkinsons
Day 7: The Kortes
Day 8: The Walters
Day 9: The Schillings
Day 10: The Martins
Day 11: The Pratts
Day 12: The Bowmans
Day 13: The Pollards
Day 14: The Wachtels
Day 15: The Strodes

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