ILLINOIS FARM COUPLES: DAVE AND JILL CAIN

They say February is the season for love … and we’re celebrating by giving you a glimpse of five Illinois farm couples throughout the week!  These couples practice their love for each other and the land every day on their farms.  Get to know them and the work they love to do!

illinois farm weddings, corn, family

Jill and Dave Cain were married on August 25, 2012.  Their newlywed life has been interesting as the first year of their marriage they lived through a historic drought that caused many farm families to have to leave the farm!

Jill farms with her dad and works for BASF while Dave works for his family trucking company.  They live only a few miles from both of their parents and they enjoy all the time they get to spend with their families.  Right now, they are adding more suffering to their plate with a house renovation project, but they look forward to a nicer home with enough room for them to start a family.

In the past, Jill has been active with the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Champaign County Farm Bureau, but for now she is content to put her time into the farm and her home with her new husband at her side.

ILLINOIS FARM COUPLES: RICHARD AND JANICE GATES

They say February is the season for love … and we’re celebrating by giving you a glimpse of five Illinois farm couples throughout the week!  These couples practice their love for each other and the land every day on their farms.  Get to know them and the work they love to do!

50 years ago, vintage wedding dress, 1963

Richard and Janice Gates will celebrated 50 years together on February 10. They met at a District Youth meeting while Juniors in High School and were married 4 years later. Richard spent his life farming with his father (and later with his son) and Janice’s career was as an employee with the US Department of Agriculture local office. In the past 50 years, they have enjoyed their three children and many grandchildren.

tourism, travel, vacation
Richard and Janice in Ireland in 2012.

As the Gates were raising their family, they all worked on the farm. Janice says that her daughters were always great at cultivating soybeans and their son joined the farm when he became an adult. The Gates like to travel and enjoyed a vacation to Ireland in 2012. They are active in the church, Farm Bureau, Kiwanis Club and Illinois Corn Growers Association.

VALENTINE’S DAY FARM COUPLES

Buhrow CollageCelebrate Valentine’s Day with IL Corn next week as we feature farm couples from all over the state and their stories of love!

Pictured is Craig and Margie Buhrow, married on June 18, 1972, who love to support the fighting Illini of the University of Illinois!  They were both farm kids, growing up about 30 miles away from each other, but had never met until a blind date during their freshman year at college.  Craig and Margie will celebrate 41 years this summer!

SMALL TOWN GIRL

Our very own Rosie Sanderson was featured on the Faces of Agriculture blog last week.  Read her story and then go visit their blog for more!

If I told you I grew up in a town with a population of 48, you would probably assume that I grew up with that typical “small town girl” story… and you would be correct. Anything you can think of to insert into a small town girl story could probably be applied to my childhood: I learned how to drive a Super M tractor before I learned how to drive a car, I crashed a go-kart or two into my dad’s grain bins, I spent my summers showing cattle, was constantly begging my parents for a horse (which I still haven’t gotten, by the way), and I had decided by age 4 that I was going to be a veterinarian when I grew up!

Rosie & Trent
My brother Trent and I checking pigs with dad.

I was raised on a livestock and grain farm in northern Illinois. (No, not all of northern Illinois is Chicago! Population 48, remember?) My dad farmed with his dad and brother, so I was lucky enough to grow up with my dad, uncle, and grandpa at our farm every day. When I was little, we always had pigs out on the pasture at our house. I can remember riding out to the pasture in the truck with my dad to check the piglets, but he always made me stay in the truck (much to my dismay) because sows are very protective.

As I got older, our farm shifted from pigs to cattle. I got my first bucket calf when I was 7, and I was in love! I named her Wise-Guy (don’t ask me why, I don’t get it either). To this day, my grandpa tells the story about how sick my Wise-Guy got when she was just a small calf, and how I would lay in her calf hutch and sleep with her because I didn’t want her to be alone. As an experienced livestock farmer, of course my grandpa thought “Great, she is going to get attached to this calf and it’s not going to survive.” Well, she did! In fact, she is the cow that started what is now our herd of over 50 cattle. 15 years later, she is still on pasture at my parent’s farm.

rosie and wiseguy
Me with my 15-year-old cow Wise-Guy.

With the help of Wise-Guy, I started showing cattle in 4-H when I was 8 and continued to show calves from our farm until the summer of 2008 when I moved to central Illinois to attend Illinois State University. Moving to college was a huge change for me. Not because it was away from home, family, friends, and grandma’s cookin’… but because these people had no clue about anything agriculture!

As soon people found out I was an agricultural animal science major, the first question was always “Wait, you are from a REAL farm???” I thought to myself “Who are these people and where did they come from!” Where I grew up, everyone I knew was another farm kid. I had never met anyone that hadn’t seen a cow before. I thought I must have met the only people on this earth who had never been to a farm. People would ask me about chocolate milk coming from brown cows, brown eggs being healthier than white, if cow-tipping was a real thing… and all I could do was laugh! Were these people serious?

As I made my way through college and met more people, I realized that this wasn’t an exclusive group of people who had never been exposed to farming. In fact, I began to feel like the weird one because I HAD experienced these things first-hand. I started to realize that people wanted to know about farming, but they didn’t know where to go for the information. They didn’t have access to farming like I did growing up. This was a problem, and it was here that my passion for discussing farming and food production with farmers and urban folks alike.

So I quit laughing when people asked me what I thought were silly questions, because I was their closest connection to farming. If they couldn’t ask me about these things, where did I expect them to go for their answers?

Norway
My family in front of the house in Norway that our ancestors left 170 years ago!

In 2011, my family had the amazing opportunity to travel to Norway and go to the farm that our ancestors left in 1843. We feel so lucky that we got the experience to stand in the house that they lived in and explore the farm that they left to bring us to where we are today. Farming has been in the family for longer than record books have been around! It is hard to wrap your head around how far we have come but how much has stayed the same, too.

I still have some cattle on pasture at my parent’s farm today, but I hope to move them to my own farm someday, just like all of my ancestors have done. When I have my own farm, I know that I will take with me the important lessons that I learned growing up on our family farm; including the importance of sustainability. Both crop and livestock production are jobs that come with a responsibility to conserve the environment, and that is a responsibility that my family has always taken seriously. Today our farm is more sustainable than ever with the help of new technologies. If that interests you, you can learn more about what we do at our farm’s website: www.sandersonag.com. In 2010, our farm even received an award for Illinois Soil & Water Conservation Family of the year from Orien Samuelson!

conservation award
My family receiving a conservation award from Orien Samuelson.

One thing I wish people understood about my farm family is that we want to answer your questions! Farming is our livelihood, our history, and our passion. We take pride in what we do. If you have a question about agriculture, why not go straight to the source and ask a farmer?

I love what I do, and I think most farmers would say the same thing if you asked them. I feel so blessed to have been raised in “God’s Country” where I learned the importance of hard-work, responsibility, and most recently the importance of sharing what I know with people like you!

rosie & horse
Riding a mare, one of the many perks of living in the country!

If you ever have a food-production related question but don’t know where to start, visit my blog or facebook page and ask me! I will always be happy to answer your questions or get you in contact with someone who can!

http://unpolishedboots.blogspot.com/
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