We asked Scotts Bluff County Farm Bureau member Andy Groskopf, just what is it you do and he replied, “I turn wrenches on farm machinery and haul fish in the winter and farm year-round.” That sounded like an intriguing introduction to someone we wanted to get to know a bit better.
Andy grew up in Scotts Bluff and attended Western Nebraska Community College where he studied automotive technology. After working in a body shop for four years, he helped on a feedlot and then on the farm with his father and uncle. Eight years ago, a neighbor downsized his operation and Andy started farming on his own with just 85 acres.
About 35 percent of his current acreage is in dry edible beans and the remainder is in corn. Andy grows mostly Great Northern beans that are commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food as well as for ham and beans. The beans are planted by June 10 and have a 90 to 95-day growing season. “My Grandpa grew dry edible beans, dad did it and that’s why I’m doing it.”
In the cold of winter when he’s not found fixing farm machinery, he drives a truck for Chaulk Mound Trout Ranch in Morrill County delivering trout to southern California. That’s where he was when we reached him – almost to San Diego with a load of fish on a flatbed trailer with aerated tanks.
We asked Andy what he saw to be challenges when it comes to being a young farmer in Nebraska. “Land prices, machinery costs and input costs. When land sells for a certain price I just can’t compete. And, it seems as though people don’t want to rent ground to smaller growers – it’s a chance they don’t want to take with a younger, smaller sized operator. ”
Continue to check back to the blog each Thursday to get to know more farmers and ranchers from across Nebraska as they share their everyday stories. And to read past farmer and rancher profiles, click here.