For Eddie Hornbostel of Randolph County, the key to success is one simple word: Diversification.
What started as a few enjoyable 4-H projects on his grandfather’s farm has now blossomed into a full-fledged farming operation, complete with dairy cattle, soybeans, alfalfa and corn.
Like many farmers today, Eddie has chosen to diversify his operation as much as possible to take advantage of every possible market and sector. But he doesn’t just do it because it makes good business sense — he’s chosen to diversify because he loves it.
“For me, the diversification is very enjoyable,” Eddie said. “You never know what you might be doing. I like the diversification because it throws some excitement into your day. And I like doing the dairy and livestock stuff. There aren’t as many of us out there anymore. Driving through our county, I remember several farmers who used to milk, now there’s only nine dairies left in our county. And there are very few beef and hog operations, too. I guess I like it because there are not as many of us so folks depend on us.”
And depend on him, we do. In 2013, Illinois dairy farmers produced 1.879 billion pounds of milk. And Eddie does everything he can to ensure the milk that leaves his farm is safe and ready for consumers.
“Our milk is tested every day or every other day,” Eddie said. “Our milk goes from the milk tank to the dairy every other day. We really have to watch our Ps and Qs because, if we screw up and feed something to the cow, like an antibiotic, and it ruins a tank of milk, it costs me and it costs the dairy. Some people think I can just do anything I want, but if I put anything in that cow, it’s going to show up in the milk tank. Our milk is as safe as it can get. In fact, I wouldn’t want my food to come from any other country.”
Don’t forget to check out all the awesome blogs happening this month over at Prairie Farmer.
For the full Faces Behind Your Food Series, check out the links below:
- Intro: 30 Days
- Day 1: Managing…everything
- Day 2: Building Relationships
- Day 3: 50/50
- Day 4: Irons in the Fire
- Day 5: Loaded Up and Trucking
- Day 6: Variety is the Spice of Life
- Day 7: Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.
- Day 8: You have got to start somewhere.
- Day 9: The earth that calls me.
- Day 10: Teaching changes the way I look at things at home.
- Day 11: A Family Affair