Imagine you wake up with the sunrise and get ready to work. First, you tend to your cattle, then you organize and plan the jobs that need to be done while the sun is up. Maybe today is the day for planting soybeans, or it’s time to fertilize the crops or both.
Finally, when the sun sets, you wrap up and prepare for another day. Sound like hard work? For James Moreland, a farmer in south central Kansas, this is a typical day, and there is no real end to the work. James says, “You never get done.”
Over the years I have had the chance to learn more about farming, how it works, the effects it has on all of us, and more through various trips with Kansas Soybeans, Kansas Pork Association, and Kansas Farm Bureau. Recently, I got the opportunity to chat with James from Moreland Farms and he gave me the scoop about life as a farmer and important things for all of us to know.
James attended Oklahoma State majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Business. His knack for farming stems from generations of family farming. Over the years, James’ family farm, Moreland Farms, has grown to cover 11,000 acres of land. Their farm raises soybeans, cotton, wheat, corn, and even cattle. Many other local Kansas farms primarily raise wheat, but the Moreland family likes the variety.
He describes the business as, “a large-scale farm with an intense crop rotation.” He explains that farming successfully takes time, saying, “If I went to college and I woke up one day and said, ‘Hey, I want to go farm.’ It’s really not that easy.” He explains that farms do not become successful overnight, but with investments of time and money they will grow.
All About The Crops
Because the Moreland family raises so many different crops, their produce goes anywhere from nearby in Kansas to as far as China. He explains that, “The corn is primarily feed corn for cattle or pigs” so the corn will go to local farms, but he also mentions that, “China buys a lot of soybeans.”
Soybeans are often crushed into soybean oil, which is an ingredient in a lot of popular products. Also, their wheat is sold to mills where it will eventually become flour.
The Importance of the Weather
When asked about how Kansas weather impacts the farm, James promptly responds, “Oh, we live by the weather!” The farm boasts an impressive 700-800 acres of irrigation systems, but James emphasizes that, “we’re always waiting on a rain.”
Following the weather is important on the farm because it impacts everything. If it’s cold out, the cattle will need more feed, if the temperature changes a lot in a short amount of time the calves get sick. James calls the weather, “the clock in the farming community.”
Message For Consumers
A lot of people are weary buying from big farms or corporate farms that supposedly take away business from small family farms. James explains that overtime, farms have simply gotten bigger to stay in business.
He says that “You’ll see farms and they’ll say LLC. or Inc. It’s still families, it’s just the family business.” In order for families to make a living, they have to keep up a sustainable business.
Also, in response to consumer worries about animal cruelty on farms, James offers comforting insight. While there are some farms in the world that mistreat animals, he says, “they typically don’t work out.”
James explains that farms are in communities, so unethical practices are often seen and dealt with. Research shows that treating cattle well leads to profits. All in all, a happy animal means a happy farm.
Best Things About Farming
In a word, everything. James enjoys everything from planting crops to raising them, all while working alongside family. He chuckles, “It’s a lot of work and a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day we sure enjoy it.”
Running a farm is without question, a great effort. Fortunately, James jokes that, “if we weren’t busy we’d probably get in trouble.”
As for Moreland Farms, James wants consumers to know that “we’re just people out here, you know? We’re farming and we do care. We want to produce a quality and better and safe product all the time.”
Check out Moreland Farms on Facebook to learn more!
And if you’re up for learning more about farming check out 5 Questions You Had About Farming Answered.