April 20, 2022
Traditionally, if you had sons, one or more might carry on the family farm. A few daughters broke the mold and farmed with Mom and Dad. Today, anyone with sons or daughters wonders if one or more will return home, understanding that it might be a daughter.
Kinzie Osborn, Stockwell, Ind., not only is actively farming with her dad, Doug, she also farms with her grandparents Tom and Toni. All four are partners in Osborn Farms.
“I’ve always liked being around the farm,” Kinzie explains. “After high school, I went to Ivy Tech for two years and worked on the farm part time. It feels good to be here on the farm full time.”
Both her granddad and father have worked in construction while farming. Tom still does excavating jobs, clearing fence rows, drainage work and other tasks that require heavy equipment. Owning that equipment and having the expertise helps keep their own land in the best condition possible.
“We’ve always believed in the conservation ethic, and we do what we can to prevent erosion and save our resources,” Tom says. That includes no-tilling and using cover crops. They typically have cover crops growing on about half their land each year.
Finding her niche
The conservation ethic and exposure to large equipment rubbed off on Kinzie. She appreciates what her family has accomplished in maintaining soil productivity through good stewardship. Plus, Kinzie isn’t bashful about hopping in large tractors.
“Driving the grain cart each fall is one of my designated jobs,” she says. “We have two combines, and we usually run two while harvesting soybeans and one once we begin harvesting corn.
“We use the grain cart to catch grain off the combine so we can keep the combine moving. We expanded our grain center in 2021 so we have more storage. That means fewer trips to elevators during harvest and less waiting in lines to unload. The improvements at the grain center also allow us to keep grain away from the combine more effectively. My part is to be there so the combine doesn’t have to stop to unload.”
Someone asked her recently if she was eyeing new technology that uses an autonomous tractor to pull the grain cart without a driver.
“Why would we do that? Then I would not have a job,” she quips.
Tom adds that they use new technology when it makes sense for their farm, and the younger generation, including Kinzie, is a big part of it. Autonomous tractors aren’t on their agenda, at least not yet.
The serious answer is that Kinzie does more than just position the tractor correctly to catch the combine. She also monitors weights from the grain cart scales. Recording and tracking accurate weights from each field is critical since they have multiple landowners, including some share-lease situations.
Kinzie has a good role model for a woman in farming close to home. Her grandmother Toni does most of the record keeping in the farm office. And in the fall, she is often the one driving the combine when Kinzie pulls alongside to catch grain.
“We’re proud of what Kinzie has accomplished so far,” Tom says. “And we’re excited that she chose to farm with her family.”
Read more about:Next Generation
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