Friday, July 6, 2012

Weckerly Farms

Meet Tessa and Chad Weckerly members of a multi-generational grain farm located in central North Dakota! 

Ours is a multi-generational grain farm including my husband and I, my husband's grandparents, parents, and brother and sister-in-law. We are located in central North Dakota and grow a variety of crops in any given year, including wheat, barley, canola, soybeans, sunflowers, field peas and ever-increasingly, corn.

We define our mission as running an effective family business that sustains long term profitability and provides opportunities for current and future generations.

My husband's great-grandfather homesteaded and began ranching just south of where our current farm stands today. My grandfather-in-law and his brother farmed and ranched together and eventually divided their operation into separate entities. My father-in-law decided to make his career in the business, and he worked alongside his dad to grow their farm, elevator and trucking businesses. Both my husband and one of his brothers have returned home now to farm as well. You can read more about our farm's history on the Farm History page of our website.

Since we have so many family members working together on the farm, of course everyone fills a unique role from managing the shop and equipment to marketing the grain. Other duties include bookkeeping, business communications, yard and field maintenance, operating equipment and many more. Tasks vary depending upon the season. In the spring, the main focus is getting the crop in the ground in a timely manner. That includes coordinating planting equipment and tillage equipment if it is needed. In the summer, there is pest and weed management in the form of scouting and spraying crops to keep them healthy preserve yield. At this time, harvest equipment must also be readied. In late July, wheat and barley harvest begins. We have a crew of combine and grain cart operators and truck drivers.

There is usually someone working on repairs and maintenance to keep the equipment running smoothly or get things back in working order after a breakdown. That creates a demand for parts runners as well if we need to get a part from an implement dealer or someplace else in order to fix the machine. We also try to provide some hot meals out in the field because of the long hours harvest season demands. We usually wrap up fieldwork with corn harvest in November. Fall fertilizing must also be done at this time to ready the soil for next year's crop. The winter brings time to attend conferences like the state ND Farm Bureau convention and the Young Farmer & Rancher leadership conference or classes on things like drain tiling and other emerging techniques. There is a lot of time spent in the shop working on equipment and making sure everything will be ready to roll in the spring. Another year. Another crop.

We appreciate being able to raise our family in this environment. To work so closely with family can be a great asset or a great challenge and most of the time it's both. Above all, we love being able to start with something as little as the seeds we put in the ground and watch them grow into something that through our work and dedication provides sustenance to so many.

Our operation is really surrounded around providing a living for families - for our own and for those of the employees who choose to work for us.

A couple of the primary misconceptions about farming that concern us are that we don't take care of our land and that we don't try to cater to the consumer. The fact is that we are a multi-generational farm who is working together to provide the opportunity for future generations to follow in this operation and this industry. In order to do that we must make it a top priority to take care of our most valuable resource - our land. In order to continue to be profitable and provide a living for our families and those who work for us, we must also cater to the demand of our market, which is giving the consumer a healthy, reliable, and safe food source.

We started our Weckerly Farms blog as a way to communicate with our landlords and extended family who have an interest in what is happening on the farm. We want to reach out and show them what is going on throughout the year with our operation and with the land that we do our very best to tend to.

Thanks to the folks at Weckerly Farm for this great feature! To learn more and to watch their farming operation thru the seasons check out their blog Weckerly Blog and website - Weckerly Farms. 

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