A Michigan dairy woman was named one of five U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Faces of Farming & Ranching late yesterday. Carla Wardin lives on a sixth-generation, 400-cow dairy in St. John’s, Mich. Her family’s Evergreen Dairy has been in the family since 1879, but Carla and her husband, Kris, only recently returned from jobs in the corporate world 7 years ago. The farm is a seasonal-calving grazing dairy using natural bull breeding, growing 850 acres of corn, alfalfa, sudax, and triticale.
Carla is also the author of “Where the filed things are,” a book about jumping from her job in Connecticutt to their Michigan farm, and “Every other twin book is wrong: 15 tips on twin pregnancy, infancy, and toddler times” about her life raising twins.
Since moving to the dairy, Carla started the blog “Truth or Dairy” at http://truthordairy.blogspot.com/, where she has scribed nearly 550 posts since 2010. The blog’s Facebook page has 826 likes.
The other four winners include:
Erin Brenneman of Iowa, who blogs for our fellow Vance Agribusiness publication,Pork Network magazine. Brenneman lives in Wellman, Iowa and is part of the Brenneman Pork, Inc. team. The farm operation is a family farrow to finish operation that consists of just over 20,000 sows over three sites – the main home in Southeast Iowa and two sow farms in Missouri. The operation was started by her husband’s parents, Rob and Char Brenneman in 1981 with a few sows outside and today nearly all of their children and spouses work full time for the operation with nearly 700,000 pigs each year going to market. She and her family also farm 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans each year.
Darrell Glaser lives in Rogers, Texas on the Bar G Ranch with his wife, Shannon, his four sons and his mother. The farm and ranch consists of 500 acres of owned land and 250 acres of leased pasture. They run an integrated contract turkey brooding operation and a commercial and purebred cow calf operations. They brood nearly 600,000 turkeys each year and maintain a cow herd that includes 200 mother cows. The farm was started by Darrell’s grandfather 80 years ago and has been in constant production ever since. When Darrell took over the farm he added two contract turkey brooding houses to help diversify their operation and converted their row crop land to improved pastures and in 1996 added two additional turkey brooding houses.
Jay Hill’s father established Hill Farms in 1969 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Today the family now farms between 500-700 acres. They use double rotation and oftentimes triple rotation, which gives the farm upwards of 1,000-2,000 acres of annual crop production. Today Jay focuses on the farm’s vegetable production and they produce between 15-18 million pounds of onions between May and July with the onions being sold in all 50 states as well as Canada and Mexico. Hill Farms also produces corn, wheat, pinto beans, alfalfa, lettuce, pecans and world famous green chile.
Thomas Titus’ family established Tri Pork in March of 1962 with 240 acres where grain and livestock were produced by one family. Today the farm supports four families, three full-time employee families and two part-time employees with hopes of bringing back the sixth generation to the farm. The farm consists of 1,550 acres of corn, soybeans and hay along with a 750 sow farrow-to-finish facility, 45 head cow/calf herd along with 15 chickens and 20 goats. Thomas primarily focuses on the operation’s pork business where they market 12,000 pigs annually to Farmland Foods. In addition, the farm has 50 sows in the herd for show pig production, sale and exhibition to allow his children the opportunity to engage in 4-H and FFA.
Dedicated farmers and ranchers from across the nation submitted applications. This is the second time USFRA has sought farmers and ranchers to speak on behalf of the industry in this capacity.
Consumers, farmers and ranchers were asked to vote online for whom they believed best represented agriculture across the country. These votes were factored into the final decision to determine the Faces of Farming and Ranching. In addition to the public vote, a panel of judges interviewed and evaluated the finalists to help determine the winners of Faces of Farming and Ranching.
These farmers and ranchers will share their stories on a national stage through media interviews, consumer-facing public appearances and events.
For more information on the Faces of Farming & Ranching program, visitwww.fooddialogues.com/Faces.