Before him, it was his dad and his uncle. Before them, it was his grandfather and his great uncle. Now it’s Bill and his brother, Larry, running the family farm.
“My brother and I farmed with my dad and uncle for several years,” Bill said. “My dad and uncle were looking to retire and decided to hand it over to my brother and I, kind of suddenly. My brother was a little reluctant, but we thought the opportunity was there and we took it.”
Today, the Pauling farm isn’t as big as it used to be. What once was 1,400 acres has been whittled down due to development and urban growth in the suburban Chicago DuPage County. Their farming operation is now spread out across two counties and several miles and, according to Bill, “City farming can be tough. Just moving equipment can be a challenge.”
“We still farm hay, wheat, corn and soybeans,” Bill said. “We bale straw from the wheat fields and do straw rentals for Halloween. And we have a few head of cattle. We feed the hay we can’t sell to them and then sell the cattle privately to people who want beef straight off the farm. The majority of our hay we sell to horse people up by Chicago.”
For Bill, despite the diminishing acreage, farming is still in his blood.
“I have always enjoyed farming,” Bill said. “It’s not the same job, day-in and day-out. When you’re a farmer, you’re a jack of all trades. You have to fix this and fix that — and you have to use your imagination to fix things. It challenges your mind and keeps you in shape. Either way, the challenge of it is interesting.”
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
- Day 12: Diversification.
- Day 13: Bigger is Better
- Day 14: Working for the Weekend