What does it mean to be a Family Farm?

By: Paige McFarland, Intern

When looking up the definition of family farm on Google it shows this definition:

“A family farm is a farm owned and operated by a family. Like other family businesses and real estate, ownership often passes to the next generation by inheritance.”

I was raised on a family farm in Princeton, Kansas- about as small of a small town as small towns can get. (Say that three times fast.) My dad farms roughly 3,000 acres, with only one hired hand. During harvest and other busy times of the year he will usually have a family friend come out to help or he’ll enlist the help of his oh-so-loving children. Most people are not aware that 98 percent of the corn farms in the U.S. are family farms.

Farming is just like any other family business–farmers don’t farm strictly because they love it; they do it for YOU the consumer. And they do it to make money, not only to support their families, but also to continue farming in years to come. So how does one remain efficient while still profiting from their business? The answer the McFarland farm found about 10 years ago was genetically engineered crops, commonly known as GMO’s.

So, does that make us friend or foe? Our farm uses genetically engineered crops to maximize yield and promote better plant health. It also allows us to grow our crops more sustainably. We are part of the 95 percent of corn in Kansas that is enhanced by biotechnology.

Most of the corn our farmers grow is field corn that is harvested in the fall as a grain for cattle and to make ethanol. However, many corn farmers plant a little sweet corn to enjoy in the summer. During sweet corn season we would go out into the fields and hand pick the few rows that my dad had planted. We would take it home, shuck it, and usually eat it that night or share it with family friends. Farmers and ranchers feed their families the same products that they feed the consumers- so why would we provide anything that wasn’t safe and nutritious?

We invite many friends and family out to the farm to see what it’s all about. These are some of our favorite little summer helpers!

We invite many friends and family out to the farm to see what it’s all about. These are some of our favorite little summer helpers!

For more information on GMO’s click here.


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