Tuesday, October 28, 2014

First Round Done


We have officially knocked out the first round of soybeans at Leffler Farms Inc! We are guessing by Friday we will be starting in on our double crop soybeans. In the time between we will be cutting for one of our neighbors and keeping busy.

I am always amazed how the timing seems to work out on the farm. As we finished the first round we used our days off with some family time. My grandparents celebrated their 60th anniversary with over 100 of their closest friends and family members. Just another reason to love small towns and the support systems that come with them.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Generation Gap


Soybean harvest is in full swing at Leffler Farms Inc this weekend. Thursday we knocked out 120 acres of bottomland, Friday 98 acres and Saturday we cut 77 acres. Sunday we finished the Gatewood Field and also got The Island cut! Saturday and Sunday the beans were tough and we were only able to run 3.5 mph compared to the previous days of running 4.5 – 5.5 mph. Doesn’t sound like much of a difference but let me tell you it is.

The Generation Gap: 

Leffler Farms Inc is a fourth generation farming operation with three of those generations still living and working on the farm. Life on the farm as I know it is much different than when my Grandpa was my age.

Here are a few examples:
Haying to my Grandpa means throwing square bales onto a trailer by hand.
Haying to me means getting the loader out and picking up big round bales and stacking them in the comfort of an air-conditioned cab.
~ Working ground to my Grandpa means sitting on a tractor without a cab fighting the dust and trying to keep your implement going as straight as possible.
Working ground to me means turning up the radio, setting my GPS to make my tractor go straight and letting it drive itself. This is a great time to catch up on phone calls or returning e-mails. I’ve even heard of people installing DVD players in their four-wheel drive tractors so they can watch movies on long row fields. I haven’t taken it to this extreme (yet).
~ Combining crops to my Grandpa means taking in little strips of crops at a time and harvesting it. Combing crops to me means taking in at least 12 rows of corn and 35 foot swaths of soybeans and wheat, taking in enough grain to utilize a grain cart so the combine never has to stop. Combines now also have yield monitors so we can pull instant figures of what the crops are making instead of having to take them to an elevator to get tested. Talk about instant gratification.
~ Trucking to my Grandpa means taking straight trucks that held around 300 bushels of crops at a time.
Trucking to me means taking 1,000 bushels of crops to the elevator at one time.
~ Shoveling feed-bunks to my Grandpa means picking up a shovel, bundling up and spending countless hours shoveling snow out of the bunks so that the cattle can eat on winter mornings and evenings.
Shoveling feed-bunks to me means getting in the skid-loader with my canister of hot chocolate or coffee, turning up the heat and attaching the bunk-sweeper so that I can drive along the bunks and sweep the snow out with a push of a button. Although I will attest that I have spent countless hours shoveling bunks because the bunk-sweeper has only been on the farm for one year (2013).
 Dinner in the field to my Grandpa means a home-cooked meal by my Grandma or my Great Grandma and eating as a family.
Dinner in the field to me means calling into the Breckenridge Co. CafĂ© in Americus and having someone deliver it to me and eat on the go.  We still occasionally do the old fashion way too and I love those days the most.
~ Going to check cattle to my Grandpa means saddling up a horse and riding pastures and lots.
 Going to check cattle to me means loading up the four-wheeler/Gator and my dog and riding through pastures and lots.
~ Calling someone to my Grandpa means getting on the handheld radio and saying 
KNGD-524-LFI-1 to whoever he may be trying to get a hold of.
Calling someone to me means picking up my iPhone. I can say I miss the days of being on a full time radio system.  My number was 3 in case you were wondering.

As you can see there are many things that are different but there also many things the same:

~ The work hard; play hard mentality will always be a part of Leffler Farms Inc.
 Fencing on hot summer days will always be a must.
~ Listening to our favorite sports team on the radios during harvest instead of being at the game (GO CATS!)
~ Working and moving cattle down road B to the feedlot with a group of our closest friends. These days will always be my favorite. I absolutely love when we have horses out working our cattle.
~ Maintaining and improving the land and homestead is always a must. Whether we are cutting/trimming trees, soil sampling, or making improvements to the feedlot I have learned that no generation on our farm will ever be satisfied. We strive for perfection in all that we encompass.
~ The time spent together is something that we all cherish. It is something that will last an eternity. I can’t ever remember a day where I wasn’t working side by side on the farm with either my Dad or Grandpa right there with me. There is something special to be said about working with family on a daily basis. It takes a special group of people to be able to o that.
~ Farming is always on the brain. Even on family vacations we somehow always managed to accommodate my Dad and stop at an equipment dealership. Another example would be at my sisters and my sporting events you could always find my Dad and Grandpa sitting with another farmer discussing their weekly adventures and comparing farming methods.

The older I get the more I appreciate the “old ways”. I see the value in everything my Grandpa does even if it does take longer or requires more physical labor. Growing up next to different generations on an operation like ours not only taught me the value of hard work but also gave me a greater appreciation of what can be learned from the generations around me.

1962 Combine and Truck
2014 Combine and Semi Truck 

Monday, October 13, 2014

And It Begins...

While competing on the national stage of track and field I always kept a blog and today I decided to officially begin a new one for a new phase of life. I thought I was living the dream back then; little did I know my dream would evolve into a lifestyle.

What is the American Dream?

I can tell you right now it's the definition of my current set up in life ! 

I mean seriously how many people actually get to do what they dreamed of as a kid. 

Upon graduation at Kansas State University in 2013 I wasn't sure what God had in store for me but I knew He would come through if I was patient and followed His lead. I moved back home into my Great Grandmas house on the farm and began working full time with my Dad and Grandpa. What I thought was going to be a temporary job has turned into something so much more. I have gained an appreciation of every aspect that goes into life as a farmer and rancher. Talk about a learning curve!

I didn't think life could get much sweeter but I was wrong. I received a phone call from my old track and field coach, Rick Ginter. He informed me that he was resigning at Emporia State University and had recommended me for the job. After a lot of careful thinking, strategic planning with family, and prayer, five days later I accepted a coaching position at Emporia State University. 

Now I sit here in the Fall of 2014 and just live out my dream of working outdoors, farming, ranching, and coaching in a sport that gave so much life to me the past twelve years. People ask me what's next? Do you plan on coaching full time? Are you going to take over Leffler Farms Inc? All I can say is right now I'm doing the two things I know the most about in life and couldn't be happier. God has truly outdone himself.