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Real Farmwives of America: How did I get here?

By September 24, 2010 , ,

How about a little family farming history and some storytelling of how I got "here" to this life of mine on a piggie farm in beautiful Indiana ... as part of a new series entitled the "Real Farmwives of America" from Heather@3 Kids and Lots of Pigs blog feature! Thanks to Heather for including me!

Mules, Sweat and Tears 
My great-great granddaddy on my daddy's side farmed over 500 acres with mules in central Ohio in the 1800s; and my granddaddy on my momma's side owned and operated a 10,000 acre ranch in western Nebraska following WWII.
So you can definitely say my farming roots run deep and I'm happy to carry on the family tradition as the 6th generation farmer. My daughter makes the 7th generation on both sides.

The dairy barn on Lone Spring Farms. Built in 1933 after the original barn burned down. My family purchased the roller coaster from a local amusement park and used the timbers to build the barn.

The milkhouse

More of the milkhouse. Currently, it's just being used as a station to feed baby calves as my father quit milking cows a couple years ago. I kept my cattle at a dairy near Newark, Ohio.
In 1923, my daddy's family started milking registered Jersey cattle. My family bottled and sold rich Jersey milk and delivered it right to our customer's doorsteps ... sometimes I think it would be fun if the days of "The Milkman" returned to America's front step. While my grandfather worked for the Milk Marketing division of the Federal Government during the mid-1900s ... the farming at Lone Spring Farms Inc. continued as always. In fact, my granddaddy was one of the first in the county to adopt no-till conservation efforts on the farm. As a result of that early adoption, my daddy is now a big advocate of no-till conservation, as well as promoting enrollment in such programs as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, where part of the farm is now set aside and left unfarmed.

A Little Girl and a Jersey Calf 
Growing up I showed and fell in love with the Jersey cow. When I was seven years old, my parents purchased my first baby calf and registered her in my name. Today, I own 11 cows and 11 heifers. Although my daddy retired from the dairy biz a few years ago - I can't seem to get it outta my blood. Dairy people know exactly what I'm talking about. The hard working America's who raise dairy cattle do it because they love and can't imagine doing anything else!
World Dairy Expo 2009 - 4th place Summer Yearling
So I think it's obvious I'm a dairy girl ... so how on Earth did I meet and fall in love with a hog farmer?!?
Well I guess he sorta sweep me off my feet when we were in college together at Purdue. He was good-looking and sweet as can be ... he could've been a plumber and I still would've fallen madly in love with the man. So once we tied the knot in 2005 - I added the title of farmwife and hog farmer to my farming resume.
In the past five years, I have learned more than I could've ever imagined about raising hogs and grain farming. Big D is one of the most ambitious and intelligent farmers I've ever met and I've met a few in my day. Soon after college, Big D started working as a manager for 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs uncle's hog farm in central Indiana. We worked out a deal where we would begin raising some of his pigs on our own. What started out as 200 sows with nearly half of their offspring leaving our farm (Big D's daddy sold all of his pigs and now our farm is headquartered at the original Foster Farms site) has now become 500 sows farrow to finish. Meaning we raise all of the pigs from birth to market - that has become alot of piggies. So we've picked up three other sites in which we rent to raise our all of our piggies. We are what you call an independent hog producer and there aren't many of those left anymore unfortunately. My hubby has renovated many of the barns - so we've been able to keep our imput costs low enough to stay kickin in this business. See ... told ya I've learned alot!

Gestation and finishing barns for Foster Family Pork Farms

Piggies headed to market, literally
Additionally, we farm Big D's family's ground in Indiana as well as my momma and daddy's land in Ohio. Yes ... I know ... people say we're crazy to truck our equipment back and forth to Ohio. But it all goes back to that family heritage ... it's important to me and it's important to Big D.

I love that I've married a farmer and that he treats the farm - Foster Family Pork Farms LLC, as a business and not a hobby. He wants to make it so that our children one day can return to the farm (if they want to) someday and support their families. Being a farmwife isn't always easy, but when you love someone you learn to adjust to the fact that he may not help as much around the house or that in the spring and fall he will be in the fields for long hours at a time. I'm proud to be a Real Farmwife of America.

Big D and me

Again, thanks so much to Heather at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs for allowing me to participate in your Farmer Friday feature and the Real Farmwives of America series. See below for more Farmwives participating in this series and their stories of "How I got here?"

o Amy and Liz at 2 Maids A Milking
o Amy at A Latte with Ott, A.
o Marybeth at Alarm Clock Wars
o Leah at Beyer Beware
o Jeanette at Fence Row to Fence Row
o Lauren at Four Ransoms and a Farm
o Cris at GOODEness Gracious
o Jent at My Front Porch
o Katie at On the Banks of Squaw Creek
o Whitney at Life is a Highway and Mine’s Surrounded By Corn
o Lana at Walking the Off-Beaten Path
o Denise at Who is the Grown Up


New Friend Fridays

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  1. Oh my goodness! I love that dairy barn and the history behind it! I can't believe it was made from a wooden roller coaster! What a unique and special legacy!

  2. Nice to meet you! I look forward to following your story!

  3. It really seems like you have to be "bigger" in order to make it in farming nowadays, huh. Glad that you guys have been able to expand enough to make it worth it!

    And I think we all want our kids to take over the farm someday. That's why it's really important to have a lot...more likelihood one of them will want it. :)

  4. I'm so glad you found that pig farmer so that we could find each other. Love all of the history and the dairy photos!

  5. I have so loved reading everyone's stories! :)

  6. I will also say that dairy barn is very cool! I'm learning about the "Real Farmwives" and visiting their sites.

    PS: Sounds like my wife and I may have been at Purdue around the same time as you guys! She's '02 grad and I'm '03