As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I believe it’s truly important that we think about where our food comes from. I’m talking about the holiday feast as well as the rest of year. Most of us city dwellers don’t give much consideration to the production of our food. As far we know, food comes from the grocery store.
But farmers know exactly where food comes from. And as the population grows and the number of farmers and farm acres shrink, farmers are asked to supply more food, and to produce it on less land. Fortunately, our farmers, as always, are up to the task.
Successful farmers must operate their farms in ways that preserve resources and create efficiencies. Earlier this year Vegetable Grower magazine featured Okray Family Farms, near Plover, Wisconsin. My brother Rich has been farm manager there for 10 years, and he described the methods they use to sustain the farm. Virtually everything about the 100 year old farm encompasses sustainability, including planting preparations, managing the post-harvest field, and equipment maintenance. “Sustainability is crucial and completely [determines] how we maintain our fields [throughout the year], our equipment, and our facilities,” Rich said. If you are interested in reading the entire article about Rich and the Okray Family Farms click here.
In some ways, my brother and I have a lot in common. We are both trying to sustain our businesses and build for the future. We are both guiding operations with long histories and started by someone else. And we both along with the rest of our siblings can thank our father and mother for our choice of careers. When dad moved our family to a dairy farm in north-central Wisconsin, he started Rich on his lifelong path. And when dad got out of farming and opened the insurance agency that would eventually become TASC, he set me on my career path. A lot of TASC’s earliest Clients were our farming neighbors.
When I sit down to my Thanksgiving meal this year, I will be grateful in countless ways for my dad’s guidance, for his help in opening doors to rewarding careers for my brother and me. I am thankful for my brother, my sister Terri (who is also a farmer) and farmers like them who work hard every day to feed us. For that we should all be grateful and give thanks.