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Ask A Farmer/Farm Family

What do farmers do once crops have been harvested?

Answer: We prepare for the next crop year making decisions about seed, land, and crop insurance. We also work on equipment, market and ship grain, and expand our knowledge of our trade. This is a question that I encounter typically when I don’t expect it. I’m usually engaged in some mundane ...read more

How do you care for hogs and harvest at the same time?

Answer: Harvesting our crops in the fall is certainly a busy time for us but before we head to the fields we feed and care for the animals. Harvest preparation is imperative on any farming operation, but it looks slightly different when managing livestock and crops simultaneously. In addition to getting ...read more

What is the difference between field corn and sweet corn?

Answer: Field corn is primarily fed to livestock and sweet corn is enjoyed by humans this time of the year as corn on the cob. Sweet corn season has arrived! But did you know that sweet corn only accounts for about 1% of all the corn that is grown? That’s right! ...read more

Why do young people show farm animals at the 4-H fair?

Answer: Showing farm animals helps us learn how to raise and care for livestock which we hope to do in the future on our family farm. We are Warren Schweitzer, 11, (third year 4-H member) and Elijah Schweitzer, 10, (second year 4-H member). We are brothers and live in rural Malta. ...read more

How has COVID-19 affected your pig farm?

Answer: It has affected every business in one way or another – meat producers are no exception. For several months, meat producers across the country have been struggling with a break in the supply chain between the farm and the packing plants. In April, many meat packing facilities faced shutdowns due ...read more

How has COVID-19 impacted farmers?

Answer: Some of the effects of these unsettling times are lower commodity prices and a back-up in the supply chain which could delay our progress. But, we are geared up to move forward and plant this year’s crop, with our continued optimism and faith in farming. Enduring in a time like ...read more

Calf Questions

As a 4th generation farmer, I have grown up around agriculture my entire life. It is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do! My great-grandpa started farming in the early 1950s growing corn and soybeans and building a beef cattle feedlot. Over the years we have grown and expanded our farm with ...read more

How do you keep pigs warm and well-cared for in the winter?

Answer: Temperature-controlled buildings keep pigs comfortable, warm and safe and allow us to monitor their health and well-being with some extra steps during harsh winter months. Caring for animals has a different set of challenges that come and go with each season in northern Illinois. Winter is certainly no exception to ...read more

What is a Family Farm?

Answer: About 96% of all farms in the U.S. are family-owned and operated. Some farms have been farmed by generations of family members and are incorporated for business purposes. I’m sure you’ve seen it driving down the road. Miles and miles of corn and soybeans stretching endlessly across the horizon. Some ...read more

What Affects Could Meat Substitutes Have on Cattle Farms?

Answer: Switching to plant-based meat substitutes will have an impact on cattle farms with a disruption in beef production. It also confuses consumers who may not realize the trade-offs. As I look back on the topics covered over the past several years, this one has to be the most complicated and ...read more