Friday, January 7, 2011

Snapshot of our farm

We operate our farm inside a regular C corporation, Batie Cattle Co. In our area we are a small to medium sized farm with around 1400 acres. Virtually all the farmland is gravity irrigated. We raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa and occasionally winter wheat. The quarter-section where we live has been our family since 1879 when my great grandfather, James Pickering, filed for a tree-claim on it. He had to plant 10 acres of trees and keep them alive for 10 years before he got title on the ground. He finally received the patent on this quarter in 1892. (I will have another post just about James, an American success story)

I have one full time employee, Kenny, besides myself. We do hire some additional summer help, mostly high school boys, and some harvest help in the fall. For several years now the summer help has mostly been Kenny's sons. That is about over as the youngest graduated from high school last May and will be attending tech school next fall to become an electrical lineman. This will probably be his last year. I don't know yet whether either of my daughters will be working here this summer. They have both helped over the years, but usually are too busy to count on for regular work.

With a name like Batie Cattle Co. you would assume that cattle would be a large part of our operation. It used to be. When we formed the corporation 26 years ago, all of our income was from feeding cattle. All of our crops were fed to the cattle and we bought more corn besides. We quit feeding cattle in 2003 for several reasons, the main one being we were losing too much money. We also knew that if we were going to continue we were going to need to install expensive waste containment systems on the feedlot. It was a tough decision to make and even tougher to tell my Dad, but it was the right decision for us.

Instead we added some farmground and concentrated our efforts on raising the best crops we could. Since then we have added a sideline business of trucking breeding gilts for a local veterinarian. This started when we were looking at moving from straight trucks to a semi. Our vet asked us to look at buying one we would take over the road for him. We did and now we put 20,000 to 30,000 miles a year on our semi hauling hogs.


  1. Good idea about posting an arial photo of the farm. May do that on my blog too since I am laid up for a while and don't have any new quilt stuff to post. By the way I am loving my new smart phone...easier to type with thumbs than one handed on the computer keyboard.

  2. It is quite interesting to read about your family and farming. I know most of us could use some "ag education". We have no idea how much work goes into getting that loaf of bread onto our table.