News and Events

  • December 03rd, 2011

I have been flying high all day long, walking around with an extra bounce in my step today because I am bursting with pride over an accomplishment of my older brother and his family.  Michael Will is two years older than me, so I’ve obviously known him for a long time, and he never has wanted to do anything other than farm. Michael Will was discouraged by many to follow his dreams; due to his persistance and determination, he chose to not only follow his dream, but he gave his childhood dream wings.  Like I, Michael Will grew up helping our parents on the farm every single day, whether that was picking blueberries, feeding cattle, breaking ice in the ponds, cutting hay, housing tobacco, mending fence, he was there.  I’m thinking he was about 14 years old when he bought his first “crop” of hogs.  That was a short-lived venture as many times would we be in school and Mama and Papa would have to try to chase down hogs that rooted their way out of the pens after they swore they’d never own a hog again after the farm crisis of the early ’80’s.  But what those hogs did (in my mind) was they gave MW a taste of what being not only a farmer, but a manager and caretaker of the components of farming and how rewarding it can be beyond the day-to-day tasks.  Shortly thereafter Michael Will began expanding his enterprises and possibilities he determined would be endless. Look at him now!

Our family has been blessed with Michael Will’s choice of a bride.  Nora was also raised being surrounded with challenges and rewards of a family business, although it wasn’t farming.  Her family’s grocery store instilled in her the same values my parents’ farm instilled in Michael Will.  Together with their work ethic, foundation of servanthood to feed others through the work of their hands, deterimination, foresight of what may evolve with persistance and good decision making, they were honored yesterday at the Kentucky Farm Bureau State Convention.  Michael Will, Nora, Claire (3 years), and Will (20 months) were selected as Kentucky’s Outstanding Young Farm Family.

Success is no way measured by the plaques on one’s office walls, but their success that was recognized yesterday is sentimental to me.  As a little girl, teenager, college student, and now parent and farmer, I look up to my brother.  Through Michael Will’s past, present, and future farming endeavors, he feeds so many people.  He understands that if we take care of our land, it will take care of us.  He implements Good Agriculture Practices on their farm because it is the right thing to do.  He minimizes crop inputs where he can, while focuses on the opportunity to eventually feed as many as he can off of the resources he utilizes.  Too often agriculture, specifically modern agriculture gets a bad-wrap.  Most of the time it’s due to mis-information.  If you ever doubt the creditials of today’s young farmers, or their practicies, I hope you get to meet farmers like them.  Michael Will and Nora will continue to care for the growing operation not just for them, or the mouths they will feed, but for the children.  Our parents instilled a passion for nature, hard work, soil, water, the miracles of life on a farm, that all five of us kids (now adults) incorporate in our professions.  We all love farming.  It’s that simple.  Yesterday’s recognition of Michael Will and Nora has provided a time of reflection on life and how fortunate I am to grow up with and in a family that instilled characteristics that have brought us each to where we are.

I’m so fortunate to have fallen in love with someone who also loves farming.  It may have been a challenge for me to follow my dreams, if I’d married a man who didn’t share that understanding.  As Shane and I are wrapping up 2011’s year and making our plans for this coming year, we can be reminded that life’s a journey, and so is farming.   Michael Will and Nora didn’t get to where they are overnight, and he’d be the first to tell you it hasn’t been easy.  But if you ask him if it’s worth it, with no hesitation he’d say “absolutely, without a doubt”.  It is so encouraging to see where they are, knowing where they came from.  As we finish our second vegetable season, second grain season, forth tobacco season, it’s exciting to allow our dreams to grow wings.  I know Michael Will nor Nora are on Facebook and probably don’t read my blogs, so they won’t ever see this….but I chose to share it with you because they won’t toot their own horn, but you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t interested in food farmers—and here’s a food producer worth learning from.  I hope you take a minute and read the news release


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