A vacation is good for the mind. As farmers, it can be difficult to justify a vacation; there is always something that needs to be done and cattle must be fed daily.
I spent a few days in July visiting my twin sister in north central Kansas. It was a much needed break from the farm. She and her husband are ranchers who grow corn, soybeans, and milo, and also raise cattle. We spent the weekend camping at beautiful Milford Lake. Lydia also works full-time as a crop adjuster, and I rode with her a day on the job in central Kansas. Wheat yields suffered this year due to winter kill and little rainfall in early spring. The other crops looked good and forage looked great.
I love meeting farmers from other parts of the country. We face different weather, soil, and market issues.
For example, we have had 30-plus inches of rain since April at our farm. One farmer said she wished they had that much rain in a year.
Kansas is different from my home farm in Illinois; roads are mostly chipped gravel and dirt, some towns are 30 miles apart, and 100 bushels is a good corn yield. The landscape looks different, but the farmer mindset is the same; farmers try to support their families raising crops and livestock to feed the world.
While we were out and about, Lydia said I just had to meet her friends Angela and Alia Naegele. The mother and daughter manage and operate Blue Hills Feeders in Lucas, Kan. It was interesting for me to see fellow women in agriculture managing a feedlot. Feedlots are few and far between at home in Illinois, and it was great to ask questions about marketing, sourcing cattle, and what products they feed.
I returned to Illinois with a fresh perspective on what we need to accomplish this summer. 2015 won't be a stellar year, but we are not going to approach our goals only looking at one year.
The opinions of Maria Cox are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.