Farming is Family

Derek cuts wheat west of McPherson, Kan., Tuesday.
Derek cuts wheat west of McPherson, Kan., Tuesday.

We’ve added a few members to the Sawyer Farm family over the past month. Austin, who has been helping Derek and his father, Doug, on the farm for more than three years, welcomed son Caysen with girlfriend Ashley in May. A few weeks later, Derek’s middle brother, Lucas, expanded his family when his wife, Kayla, gave birth to their first child, daughter Rylie Ann. They are both adorable and mothers and babies are doing quite well!


The addition of new ones makes me realized how blessed I am to have my family so close. Many people have to hop on planes and trains to visit their parents and siblings. I simply have to drive down the road.

Farms are built on the tradition of family. Nationwide, 99 percent of farms are owned by families. In many cases, three generations work alongside one another in the fields providing food, fuel and fiber for their families and dozens of other people worldwide.

In Kansas, wheat harvest seems to epitomize the family-farming environment. On Saturday, Derek and his father kicked off the 2012 wheat harvest. Lucas came out to run the grain cart and my parents paid a visit to the field where my father got to ride in the combine’s buddy seat. The ride, he said, brought back memories of the wheat harvests he spent driving a tractor on his uncle’s farm. My mother grew up on a farm in Idaho so my move to the farm only continued the tradition of farming in her family and her visits to the wheat fields conjure up memories of pulling weeds along side her sisters in the fields my grandfather farmed.

My mother, mother-in-law and I all pitch in to help feed the guys and Lucas, while not a full-time member of the harvest crew, will be around most evenings to drive a tractor or truck. Across the state, families will come together to help one another bring in the wheat crop. It’s a wonderful tradition that not only speaks of the strength of Kansas agriculture but of the dedication of families to the farming tradition.

As farms grow and fewer people return to the family farms, the number of families involved in farming continues to dwindle. I hope one day to pass our farm onto our children but that will be their decisions and until then, I’m going to enjoy my time on our farm, surrounded by mothers, brothers, nieces and in-laws. We might need a larger dinner table but we’ll continue to find a way to get them all together!



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