Posts tagged family
Making Lunches

We visited the farm last weekend to introduce two of my favorite people in the world to wheat harvest. It's a busy, dusty, exhausting, fun time of the year.

The days are usually really long - starting in the morning and reaching until way past sunset as long as the grain is still dry enough to cut. Dad is super efficient when he's harvesting. Actually, he's always super efficient. And everybody has their place in the wheat harvest train.

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Sustainability Spotlight: Large-Scale Commodity Farm

If there is one word I could use to describe Lee Scheufler, my father and the co-owner/operator of Scheufler Farms, Inc. it would be efficient.

“I wasn’t going to marry a farmer!” declares Margaret, wife of efficient Lee, my mother and co-owner/operator of Scheufler Farms.

“But my charm overwhelmed her,” Lee jokes with a wink.

Scheufler Farms is a large-scale grain farm in the smack-dab center of Kansas. Lee and Margaret have been married over 30 years and together manage this 100% family farm with only one full-time employee. Their farming philosophy is to run a highly efficient enterprise to capture low cost per unit production.

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Farming when the Ground is White and the Temp is Low

I work an 8-to-5-ish job. I have weekends and holidays off, I accrue PTO, and if I'm deathly ill, I have (amazing) coworkers who will step up to cover for me.

This does not describe the life of a small business owner, such as a farmer.

A small business owner works the hours he needs to - meaning 16-hour days during harvest - and takes time for herself when she can. For most farmers, this means that if you want to take a vacation, it's probably going to be in the dead of winter.

So what exactly does a farmer do when the combine is in the shed? Quite a bit, actually.

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The Harvest Crew

Every year my parents host a post-harvest celebration. They usually go out to a restaurant (that way mom gets to enjoy the time without worrying about cooking) and spend a couple of hours enjoying great company and great food.

The crew has changed over the years. It used to take many more people to get the job done, but with new technology it now takes one combine to do the work of two.

May I introduce you to the current Scheufler Farms harvest crew.

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The Modern "Industrial" Family Farm

Farm life. It's quite romantic. Or rather, romanticized.

When I talk to anybody I've ever met who has lived in a city -- or even in a town just miles away from farmland -- I'm often surprised by what they think a farm is. I'm also surprised (and a little concerned) at how little they know about where their food comes from.

Over the next year, I would like to invite you to virtually tour my family's farm. My intent is not to pass judgment or make recommendations, but merely to inform. People need to know. Leaders, politicians, consumers -- we all need to know where our food comes from so we can make thoughtful decisions to make our world better.

Don't write off the American farmer. Please, listen to his story, listen to my story. Listen to our story.

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Welcome to the Farm

I'm a farm kid at heart.

I love big cities. I love exploring new places, trying new foods, and encountering new cultures.

But there is something about the farm -- something quiet, something peaceful. A stillness that, even in the the buzz of wheat harvest or the cold, dead of winter, I can only find at home on the farm.

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The Quest for Sustainability

Sustainability. It's a buzzword. It's a fad. It's a culture shift.

But really, what is sustainability in terms of how we grow our food in the world? As a dietitian, I have had the pleasure of meeting many people who care deeply about this topic. People who buy local or organic or avoid certain products because of sustainability.

I myself have pondered how I can lead a more sustainable lifestyle. My husband, whose scholarly focus is related to public health and the environment, also challenges me to think more deeply about this topic.

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