City Girl to a Show Girl

Brittani hogs

Growing up I was never the person who wanted anything to do with livestock. I was more of the type who didn’t know anything about agriculture. In fact the only tie that I had to the agriculture community was my uncle’s farrowing farm. While growing up I spent a lot of time with my uncle in his pig barns. Being around the pigs, and livestock in general spiked an interest in the livestock. As time went on, I came to the conclusion that this community had many opportunities for me to succeed.

Brittani sheepWhen presented with the opportunity to show at the Knox County Fair, I was a little hesitant. After numerous hours training my animals, I was finally in the ring and knew that I was developing a passion for the agriculture industry. Showing at the Knox County Fair has taught me more than winning trophies. I have gained responsibility along with integrity. It takes someone with a huge amount of responsibility to get up every morning to go feed his or her livestock. Additionally, it takes someone with a huge amount of dedication to be the one working with his or her livestock year round. But, the most important concept that I have taken away from the Knox County Fair, that means the most to me, is integrity.

Brittani cattleI believe that everyone loves winning, but it takes grit to be the person that shakes everyone else’s hand and congratulates him or her when you are not the person winning. As hard as it is, winning is not everything. The lifelong friendships that have been made along with the character that has been built makes me truly thankful for the opportunity I received to show at the Knox County Fair.

 

Brittani Pospisil is a senior at Creighton High School in northeast Nebraska. After graduation she plans on attending Kansas State University to become a veterinarian. Brittani has a deep passion for agriculture and loves connecting with people who share the same love for agriculture.  

 

 

10 Lessons I Learned on a Family Farm

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1. Appreciation:
In high school, everyone one says that they are ready to leave this town; however, I can’t wait to come back to my family farm. I want to give back to my family farm. It grew me so much as a person. I learned respect, responsibility, and hard work at a young age. Once you leave the farm you see how different the world is, but you will always have your work ethic to fall back on.

2. Driving:
I was driving anything and everything that my dad would let me drive on the farm. Every experience prepared me for the next. I was always up for the challenge. Looking back, I realized how much confidence I gained through learning to drive and operate machinery.

3. Exercise is Important:
Who needs summer weights when you have 5-gallon buckets? Don’t even get me started on moving livestock. Herding sheep sure feels like guarding a basketball opponent. Those two things alone will get you ready for basketball season more that any weight room.

4. Family is Everything:
Living on a family farm, my family and I spend A LOT of time together. My younger brother and I spend almost every day together doing chores or doing other jobs on the farm. We spend so much time together that we just know each other so well. There are times that we argue while working livestock or when the combine breaks down for the third time in one day, but we know it was from the heat of the moment, all is forgiven, and you keep moving ahead together. Family is the heart of our farm.

5. Nothing Goes According to Plan:
There are days that nothing will go as planned. The ability to be flexible and shift your plans is mandatory. You may make two or three trips to the John Deere dealership because you have broken down several times in one day. You just power through and keep moving forward.

6. There is a Lesson in Everything:
I have learned so many lessons over the years. The Fall of 2018 was a lesson in patience. Harvest was continually delayed because of rain and snow and then more snow. We waited patiently and then helped where we were needed when it was time to harvest again.

Christina Blender7. Animals Become Your Best Friends:
There are many animals that run around on the farm. Whether it is livestock, a dog, or cat, you grow to love all of them. Growing up my family had a farm dog, Shelby. She joined our family when I was a baby, so we grew up together. I will never forget her because we spent many hours together doing everything from shearing sheep to sweeping the shop floors. I may have spent a lot of time by myself on the farm, but I was never truly alone because I always had Shelby there with me.

8. The Cycle of Life:
From a young age, I learned about life and death. It became evident just how precious life is. I have carried cold lambs inside the house and helped them warm up. It is one of the most amazing experiences to watch a newborn lamb get on its feet again. Last year, I had a twin set of Babydoll Southdown rams. They were born on a cold night unexpectedly. When I went to do the night check I found the two tiny ram lambs. They were cold and separated. I put them inside my coat and carried them to the house. My parents and I spent many hours that night nursing them back to health even though there were moments we thought we were going to lose them. We kept the faith, because if you see a glimmer of hope, you can’t give up on them.

9. Passion:
I love my jobs on the farm and I truly believe that I have the best one in the world. I get to see new life come into this world, while taking on the challenge to continue feeding the world. The best part of farming are the days it doesn’t feel like work. I have been truly blessed to grow up on a family farm.

10. Work Ethic:
Rain, snow or shine you have to be ready to work. Sunup to sundown is a way of life. My dad has always worked long days. When we were young my dad would leave early and get home late, my mom would take us to the field to eat lunch with him. Sometimes this was the only time we saw him. My parents gave us responsibility early in life. As we aged, they added more chores and activities that we could manage. There are countless hours in the cab of a tractor or sitting in the lambing barn watching a laboring ewe. These lessons have served me well.

Eliza Hunzeker

 

Eliza Hunzeker is a senior at Pawnee City High School. After graduation, she plans on attending Northwest Missouri State University and majoring in Agronomy. Eliza stays busy working on the family farm and participating in 4-H, FFA, and school activities.

Get To Know Your Nebraska Farmers: Debbie and Terry Borg

You might say Debbie and Terry Borg of Allen, Neb., had their first date in a cornfield. She had just moved to the state as district sales manager for eastern Nebraska for a seed company that is now part of Syngenta. Two-and-a-half hours of discussing the health and potential of the crop led to other meetings and their marriage two years later in 1995.

Debbie Borg

Debbie grew up on her family’s acreage near Berthoud, Colo., and helped with her family’s purebred Suffolk sheep operation. She showed sheep in 4-H and earned college money by “fitting sheep” – getting them ready for competition. She earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and later coursework for a master’s of agriculture with a communications emphasis, both from Colorado State University.

Terry’s great-grandparents purchased 160 acres near Wakefield after they came to the U.S. from Sweden; he’s the fifth generation of his family to farm. Terry and Debbie’s wedding on July 1, 1995, was exactly 100 years after his great-grandparents’ wedding on the same date in 1895. It was a great honor, Debbie says, when they had the opportunity four years ago to buy the home place where Terry’s grandmother grew up.

Terry and his three brothers all farm together and also have their separate farming operations. Some of his brothers have cow-calf operations, but Terry and Debbie “background” cattle: They care for cattle weighing about 500 to 600 pounds and feed them hay and corn from their farm until the animals are about 900 pounds and ready to go to the feedlot.

Daughters of Debbie and Terry Borg: Hannah, almost 16; and Heidi, 14.

“The feedlots are really great at putting the last 300 to 400 pounds on them,” Debbie explains. The Borgs retain ownership of their animals so they have options for marketing the finished cattle.

The couple has three children: Hannah, almost 16; Heidi, 14; and Hunter, 11. The children attend Wakefield Public Schools and all are 4-H’ers. They’ve shown horses and bucket calves, along with doing sewing and cooking projects.

Hunter has five cows of his own and also feeds bucket calves, with some support from his Dad and Uncle. His bucket calves are put in with the family’s pens of cattle and he retains ownership of the animals when they go to the feedlot.

Terry and son Hunter, 11, pouring cement.

“As someone who grew up outside of production agriculture, I really believe some farmers are born with dirt in their blood – and that would be our son,” Debbie says. This summer Hunter ran the tractor and packed silage by himself.

The Borgs grow soybeans as well as corn and Debbie has been a leader for the industry. She is a soy educator for the Nebraska Soybean Board and visits fourth grade classrooms in northeast Nebraska, explaining how soybeans are used in so many products that affect our lives daily.

“I’m continually amazed how many rural kids don’t know any more about agriculture than city kids,” she says. “I have to be intentional with my own children, in making sure they understand what we do on the farm and why. They are bombarded with so much information and a lot of it doesn’t support sustainable agriculture.”

Debbie also educates and informs about agriculture through her blog, “Growing Food….Our family farm story.”

She is also past president of the Nebraska Soybean Association and was the American Soybean Association’s point person on animal care issues. Her leadership experience has been wonderful, she says. “It’s been an amazing opportunity and privilege to represent soybean farmers” with the Nebraska Legislature and Congress. She urges all farmers to participate in their commodity and farm organizations:

“Every acre counts, just as every vote counts. There’s so few of us (farmers and ranchers), we need everyone to be involved, no matter what size your operation. We need to have a collective voice on issues and that’s why our organizations are so important: If we are not there to share our stories, a lot of other organizations will try to do it for us. There’s no better people to tell our story than those who get their hands dirty and make farming work.”

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.

Learn more about ag families in Nebraska by visiting www.nefb.org. And while there, be sure to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.