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To John and Joan Maxwell, sustainability means caring for the land to pass on to the next generation, and more importantly, sharing learnings to continue to elevate agriculture as a whole.
Multi-generation Midwest dairy farmer champions – Michael Johnson, Melisa Konecky, Evan Metzger and Darcy Steffes – talk about the importance of connecting with people to share their farm family stories.
Brian Schanbacher has been dairy farming ever since he can remember. He grew up working alongside his parents and grandparents on his mom’s home farm; a farm that has been in his family for more than 150 years. Brian and his wife, Kristen, now have the same opportunity to dairy farm alongside his parents and raise their family in Iowa.
Sometimes technology can get in the way of time spent together during the holidays, but not for this family! Thanks to the help of farming robotics, the family behind New Day Dairy has the flexibility they need to spend more time together.
Working together to raise and harvest crops, milk cows, and care for animals has been a tradition for the Hansen family of Hudson, Iowa, for more than 150 years. In order to provide opportunities for the sixth generation of the Hansen family to be involved in the farm, they added several new traditions, including processing milk, ice cream and other products on the farm, opening retail stores and delivering products to stores throughout the area.
Sustainable farming simply means, “Doing the right things — for the environment, our family business and our community,” according to Iowa dairy farmer Marty Burken. “We live and work here, my kids drink the water, breathe the air, and I hope they’re the third generation to tend this land and the animals it sustains.”
For five generations, members of the Maassen family have been raising animals and crops on land near Maurice, Iowa. Although the farm looks very different now than when Lee Maassen’s great-grandfather began farming in the early 1900s, the family’s focus on caring for their cows, people and the environment has stayed constant over the decades.