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New Crop of Farmers :: Michael Ann Johns

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Photo of a young farmer.
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Johns Family Farm, Gering NE

Currently a student at Colorado State University, Michael Ann is a third generation farmer of 600 acres of corn, beans, sugar beets, a little alfalfa, and 100 head of cattle.

“Our family farm was passed down from my grandfather to my dad. Both have farmed their entire lives. It’s normal for the males to take over the farm; very few women have come back to take over their family farm. It would be something I would like to do.

 “I began helping with tractor work and from the age of 14, I had my own irrigation pipes to set.
Operating a large piece of equipment was scary when I was young but my dad or grandfather would ride with me, show me what to do, and give me the long list of what not to do.

“Unlike most jobs, if I screw up, I don’t get to leave at the end of the day and forget about it. We reminisce about our mistakes at dinner, at Thanksgiving with the whole family, and probably will for years to come. But I also get to be part of something bigger than a summer job; I sit down with family members and discuss solutions to problems we’re having.

“The most important thing my dad and grandfather taught me is a strong work ethic. When it snows and everything else shuts down, farmers have to go out and make sure things are still running. It is a way of life I have come to love.”


Anna Stern and Kim NochiAnna Stern and Kim Nochi interviewed the young farmers in this series for Food for Everyone, the spring 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Anna and Kim are editorial interns at YES!

 

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