Friday, December 21, 2012

Morgan Kontz - A First Generation Farm Wife

Today we welcome Morgan Kontz of South Dakota. Morgan is the author of the blog "First Generation Farm Wife." She is a great agvocate for agriculture - working hard to represent agriculture and promote conversation about food and farming.

Hi! My name is Morgan Kontz, a First Generation Farm Wife, from Eastern South Dakota. My husband and I farm in a partnership with his brothers, their wives, and my in laws. Between the three families we have 8 kids involved in the operation. Talk about a LARGE family farm!

(My husband, my daughter, and I at Mt. Rushmore. We went to a South Dakota Corn Board husband is a Director on the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council)

We farm corn, soybeans, alfalfa, raise beef cattle, and run a beef feedlot. We stay quite busy year round- whether it’s in the fields, feeding cattle, working on equipment, or moving a ton of snow!

A typical day for me on the farm could include many things, or sometimes very little, depending on the time of year. This last harvest season I started my day getting our daughter ready for a day in the tractor and fixing meals for the day to feed the farm. Once I got to the farm I would typically spent the entire day in the tractor. Around bed time I would take our daughter home so our babysitter can get her settled for bed, and then I would be back in the tractor until the late hours of the evening- or the early hours of morning. However, you look at it!

During the non busy season things are a bit less busy for me around the farm. I spend a good chunk of my time during a month cleaning cattle water fountains and fencing with my husband every now and then. I also do bookwork, pay bills, and keep tabs on our breeding herd of cows- and those are just a few of the things I know need to get done. My schedule can vary depending on what my husband needs- whether it’s giving rides, watching gates, running for parts, or sometimes just having a family date in the tractor.  

(Cleaning cattle fountains- water source for animals)

(Filling salt and mineral tubs- supplements for our breeding cows)

Since we are involved in such a large operation sometimes being on the farm alone is very rare. The days where I get to spend with my husband just the two of us (well the three of us I should with our daughter!) is probably one of my favorite parts. I wouldn’t trade being involved on a family operation for anything- but there is something about sharing what we both love when it’s just the two of us!

One of the unique things about our operation is how we split a lot of our duties. The women on the farm do the bookwork and split the responsibilities in the office. We also do a weekly rotation of cooking meals for the farm. Most of the year this includes the noon meal. During the busy seasons it includes two meals a day, delivered 
to the field. We also split our Sunday chores and holiday chores so that each guy has a chance to spend time with their families.

(Delivering supper to the field during harvest)

One of the things that I wish consumers understood about farmers is that many of us are family owned and operated businesses. 98% to be exact. I always get many shocking looks when I discuss that with various people at different events. I didn’t come from a farming background, although I grew up loving agriculture and made it one of my passions to educate others on agricultural production and practices in modern farming (I have a degree in Agricultural Education). I think looking back I would have been stunned to know that 98% of farms are family owned and operated, so it’s fun and enlightening for me to be able to share that with others.  

I am very involved in the industry and always have been in some way or the other since high school. When I met my husband and moved to South Dakota I became a first generation farm wife. Other than my time on the farm I am also a volunteer for CommonGround. The organization is sponsored by National Corn and United Soybean boards. Our main goal is to have a conversation about food, and of course farming! 

Being involved in the Ag industry outside of our farm is something my husband and I take very seriously, and something we both enjoy. Even if it’s just a simple conversation about small areas of farming it is so important that consumers feel confident and establish trust in farmers again! 

Years ago farmers would have never anticipated having to defend their livelihood. Today, I believe it is more important than ever as farmers and ranchers to share our stories in a positive light. Consumers need to feel safe in their food decisions and I believe their is no one more skilled in telling the story of America’s agriculture than us!

To read more about our family farm check out my blog:

Have questions about Food? Check out the CommonGround site to meet other “experts” in agriculture!
Thank you Morgan for a great feature!!! Keep up the great work!!! Be sure to check out her blog to learn more!  

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