Friday, October 3, 2014

Farming & Family: The Szymanski's

Welcome to day 3 of our 31 days.

I love that these families are willing to open up their farms and let us take a glimpse!
Farming/Ranching isn't just a business for each family featured it's a lifestyle.
There are long hard days and nights, but the joy of watching a new calf born, or the first shoots emerge in spring make all of the droughts, fire, flood, and every other weather issue you can think of worth it.


I can't wait for all of you to meet these awesome farm families from across America.  These are the families that are supplying the food on your table and the clothes on your back...not to mention some of them provide products you use to build your house.  

Today's family hails from the Tip of the Thumb!

1. Who are you & where are you located?

Hi!  We are the Szymanski family!  My husband Frank & I have 3 children, Luke (5), Grace (4) and Faith (2 1/2).  We farm along with his parents in Port Austin, MI. 



2. How did your farm begin? 
My husband's grandparents bought our farm in 1942!

3. What does your farm produce?

We farm on around 1200 acres.  We grow corn, wheat, and dry beans.  This year my husband also became a sales agent for Pioneer Seeds.
   
4. What is the busiest time of year for your farm?


That's a toss up between planting and harvest. I think with seed deliveries I would say planting.

5. How do younger generations help on the farm?

Our children are fairly young yet but they love to help! They sweep sheds and the shop, pick rocks, help get tools. They feed the chickens and ducks and help in the garden.

6. With all there is to do on a farm, are you involved off the farm?
I volunteer at the kids school and am a member of the FSA County committee.  Frank is a member of the Knights of Columbus and serves on the board for the Michigan Crop Improvement Association.

7. What's your favorite activity to do together as a family on the farm?

We always take time when we can for a family picnic in the field during planting and harvest.  Life is so hectic and the kids start to really miss their dad so we try to get some family time with the kids. 

We also plant a huge pea patch every year for our extended family and getting the ground ready and planted is definitely a favorite family activity. We spend summer nights checking the garden, walking through the corn/soybean plots and weeding the peas. 
We are also blessed to live right on the farm and next door to my husbands parents and grandmother so the kids are always running around the farm(usually looking for candy) and impromptu family time happens organically.

8. Why is family important to your farm?

We farm "for" our family and "with" our family.  We are blessed to be able to farm along side Frank's parents.  Their wisdom and experience are something that you can't learn inside a classroom or book.  There are always challenges when working with strong-minded individuals but at the end of the day being able to be part of the family working together for a common goal is wonderful.
Their business sense and caring is something that we hope to emulate with our own children as they grow into the operation. 

9. What's one thing you want non-farm families to know?
One of the unique perspectives on a farm is that we aren't here just to make money for ourselves to live on. ~Although it is nice to have all the bills paid by the end of the year!
We take care of the land and equipment for our children to take over and make money to live on and pass onto their children too.


 When our kids want to grow up doing what dad and mom do its exciting. Our oldest came home from Kindergarten this week with a drawing of what he wants to be when he grows up "a farmer." It was very heartwarming! Those little people that beg for tractor rides and trips to the elevator; that can tell you the model of every tractor and name pieces of equipment better than some equipment salesman are our present and our future.
However, in an atmosphere like we are farming in now it can also be troublesome.  Will there be land for them to farm? Will it be cost effective? What do we need to do now so that in 10-20 years there is enough income for another family to enter the business? We just hug them and pray at the beginning and end to make the best decisions. 

10. Do you have a blog, a farm Facebook page, twitter, etc where people can find out more about you and your farm?  



Hope you enjoyed reading about this wonderful farm family!

Until we meet again may God bless you and keep you!

Caci