Although Mike wasn’t born into a farm, there is still agriculture in his blood. He inherited a love for working in local farmers’ fields in high school detasseling corn in the hot summer months or chopping weeds in the milo fields after school. Years after working those fields, he’s moved to Western Kansas, married a farmer’s daughter, takes care of his own land, and raised a family.
“Four walls and I still don’t get along”, he says. “There’s never a dull moment out in these fields and I enjoy the change of the seasons…just everything about making a living outside. I love it, especially during harvest.”
It’s harvest now, and there is a steady rumble of machinery in the distance. A red combine driven by his son and new daughter-in-law sweeps its way across the horizon that is now painted a brilliant crimson by the setting sun. With every pass of that sun-matched machine, Mike becomes more excited. The anticipation of a year’s work is building.
“We’ve invested so much into our land by harvest time. It’s exciting to see what it gives back.”
Many people today view farmers at odds with mother nature, that the land is something to be controlled. But that’s not the case. To Mike, part of investing in the land and growing the best crops is letting mother nature take the lead. Mike, as with many farmers, practices crop rotation which means he plants different crops depending on the year.
“We rotate our crops. We plant soybeans because they naturally put nutrients back into the soil for us. After the beans are done we will plant corn to take advantage of the nitrogen the soybeans left behind. Then we’ll follow our corn with wheat because it helps us best utilize the irrigation we already have in place. That way, we’re not wasting any water. We rely on mother nature to naturally enhance our crops."
The production Mike gets off the land is definitely something that he is interested in. But you can tell with every sweep of that red combine that Mike is becoming more excited for another reason. “We just really want to grow the best crops we can so we can turn it into the best food for people to eat. We shop at the grocery store too. The grain I grow on my farm gets sent by train to places like California and gets turned into the food we put in our own pantry…I hope we can be trusted because I wouldn’t send anything off my farm that I wouldn’t have on my own dinner table for my family.”