Life on a farm

Students who own family farms share their experiences

The+Williamson+family%27s+cows+roam+the+pasture+at+their+farm+near+Indianola.+Junior+Jordan+Williamson+said+that+the+cows+are+gentle+animals%2C+but+they+can+be+skittish+around+people.

Jordan Williamson

The Williamson family’s cows roam the pasture at their farm near Indianola. Junior Jordan Williamson said that the cows are gentle animals, but they can be skittish around people.

Caroline Quinn, Staff Writer

Living in Iowa, residents are aware of the abundance of farmland. There are over 92,000 farms in Iowa, but as of 2010, only 750 are in Polk County. As a result, only few students, are aware of what it is really like to live on a farm. The ones that do have fun stories to tell.

Junior Jordan Williamson’s family has owned their family farm south of Indianola for nearly her whole life. “We put our hands in the concrete when it was poured,” Williamson said. Her family does not live there now, but they use it as a fun family getaway place. “If there’s a weekend we have off we go down and have some fun,” she said.

Williamson enjoys going to the farm. “There’s a lot more curiosity and imagination put into things,” Williamson said. “You can just go off and explore.”

Even though it is mostly intended for fun, the farm still provides a source of income for her family. Williamson’s dad raises cattle as a hobby which they have used to develop a connection with the meat industry. “We have cows, lots of cows,” Williamson said. “They only respond to a certain call that my dad makes, so they’ll just strut on down there, and he’ll make it. I don’t even know how he does it. And they come running when you have food like there’s a fire behind them.”

The cows are responsible for some of the worst experiences that Williamson has had on her family’s farm. “Cowpies… are the worst. I’m just not even gonna go there… they’re really bad,” Williamson said.

Williamson has had some other interesting experiences that kids who only live in town might never go through. “One time that there was so much snow in the pasture that we were walking in, and I was littler, and my boots got stuck in the snow three feet down, and they had to pull me out and then pull my boots out of the snow and it thawed, so that was fun,” Williamson said. “[Once] we rolled the four-wheeler into the fire when we had a bonfire! That was hilarious,” Williamson said.

Williamson said that she prefers farm life over city life. “It’s more peaceful, and you don’t have to worry about your neighbors spying, or something like that,” Williamson said. She is not sure if she would like to live on a farm in the future, however. “It kinda depends where it would be, because of job opportunities, and stuff like that. Because it’s out, way out in the country.”

Another student’s family farm is used for actual farming as opposed to a weekend getaway. Senior Harrison Kruse’s family has a 1,600 acre farm in Hampton, Iowa, which is about one hour north of Johnston. Kruse said that he does not live there, but goes up every week.

“[Our main crops are] corn and beans, and we also have a small hay business,” Kruse said. “We’ve got 20 Angus-Hereford cross, and I have two show steers.”

One of the other animals at Kruse’s farm won an award this summer. “We had the biggest boar at the Iowa State Fair this year,” he said. “That was a group of us. Two years ago we got third place, and this year we won. That’s been fun.”

Some of Kruse’s less fun experiences have to do with their farm vehicles. “We tile fields to take all the water out, and [one week] there was a tile that was plugged, so it was really muddy,”  Kruse said. “I was just going along on the four wheeler, just having a good time, and all of the sudden I was stuck. And I mean I was not just stuck, I was buried. [Buried] up over the wheels.”

Kruse thinks that his experiences on the farm have taught him some positive life lessons. “I think it teaches you about hard work, you have to engage and actually work,” he said. “Problem-solving is another big thing, in the field. Running the combine for example, which is something we’ve been doing recently, if something breaks you may have to troubleshoot it right there, you can’t wait for parts and stuff, you’ve just got to problem solve.”

Another thing that farming has taught Kruse is the appreciation of the processes food goes through. “You’re closer to the land, so you actually get to see what goes into the ‘from the field to the table’ kind of thing,” Kruse said. “You get to see all the different processes. It’s like, ‘oh, I was a part of that’.”

Kruse believes that a big part of farming has to be passion. “You can’t just be like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a farmer!’, that doesn’t work,” he said. “You actually have to have a passion for it. It’s a lifestyle.”