If you would have asked me years ago what I thought a farmer did, I would have said plant stuff, work the land, maybe even milk some cows. While all that is true, in its most basic form depending on their farm, there is so much more that goes into it. After my initial trip to Kansas, I walked away with a new perspective on who farmers are and a newfound respect for what they do. Not only are they working the land and tending to their stock, they are also responsible for the logistics of it all…and that is no easy task.
My respect for them runs deep, not only for all that they do but because what they do benefits us..the consumer. They supply food and food is essential, which means they are essential. Yet, I get the feeling that most consumers don’t know all that much about farming and what’s involved (at least I didn’t until I visited some farms), so I plan on changing that (well, hopefully anyway).
So where do I start? Let’s start with you meeting Nicole of Rezac Land and Livestock, a 6th generation farmer. Even though she grew up on the farm, Nicole didn’t set out to be a farmer, she sort of fell into it and hasn’t looked back since.
Before I share what I learned from our time together, I want to point out just how cool it was to speak with a female farmer in a male-driven industry. Nicole is actually the only female on her ranch but she has 2 daughters that already love the farm and help out, so she won’t be the only one for long.
5 Things I Learned About Nicole of Rezac Land and Livestock
It’s a family affair
There is a big family aspect to what they do, that may have something to do with the fact that they are family members who are working together. Their farm is a family-based operation that started back in 1960. They are a diversified farm that specializes in hogs, row crops, wheat, and soybean.
Fun fact: The have an average of 4,000 hogs on their farm at a time
How does it run so smoothly? Each of them has their own specialties and areas of expertise. Besides their love for each other, they love what they do. They put a lot of themselves into it because for them this isn’t just a job.
A day in the life of farmer Nicole
A typical day for Nicole involves checking up on the pigs (the mamas and the babies) and data-keeping. She especially loves the data part. But every day is different and there is always plenty to do, which she really enjoys.
They construct a lot of their own machinery
Well, more specifically, Nicole’s dad Lance does. There is pretty much nothing that he can’t fix and he definitely knows how to build stuff. In fact, he most recently built a leg over the summer. A leg is used to carry the grain from the trucks into the grain bins. All of their grain bins (used for storage) has been built by them over the years!
They make their own feed
They grow corn and grind it up so that it can be used to feed their livestock.
Technology is a big part of agriculture
Technology is a big part of agriculture, more so than people may realize. In fact, almost everything they do with their machinery is GPS referenced. For example, when they plant, they keep track of all of their planting data, and GPS reference it so that they can keep track of seeding rates and where different hybrids/varieties are planted in each field. They then use that information to track what they yield.
Even their soil sampling information is GPS referenced. They link the soil sampling results to various points and it’s creating fertilizing prescriptions from tall of that information. By doing this, they can put the fertilizer exactly where it needs to be placed and skip areas of the field that don’t need it.
Plus, Aerial imagery using satellites and drones to scout fields and track crop health is also getting to be way more popular as well.
Besides how Nicole smells after tending to the pigs and the long hours, there really isn’t much she doesn’t like about farming, especially because it is a family affair. She gets to work alongside her father and her brother and as I mentioned earlier, sometimes her daughters.
If you want to support farmers. consider shopping locally and purchasing from small farms.. Do you want to learn more about farming? Check out 5 Things I Learned About Farming From My Kansas Farm Food Tour and 7 Things Farmers Want Consumers To Know.
I want to say THANK YOU to Nicole for taking the time to talk to me about her life as a farmer. Not only is she busy on the farm but she has to children and one on the way, so I appreciate her making time for me!