Nelson attends conference to get more involved in her family’s operation

Posted December 4, 2017

Becky Nelson, who grew up on a farm in northeast Kansas, now farms with her husband’s family outside of Leonardville, Kansas. They have livestock and crops, wheat, soybeans, milo and corn. They raise Angus and have a little feedlot.

“We sell bulls; that’s what our main part of our farming operation is. We A.I. our cattle and sell our bulls.”

When we visited their farm during wheat harvest, she and her husband Mike, his brother, his dad Alan, and his grandpa were all out in the field with different jobs: combine operator, grain cart driver, tractor driver with the baler, and semi driver. In addition, Becky and Mike’s four daughters and their nephew were also “helping out.”

Mike’s grandpa, Raymond, no longer drives the combine or truck but he was thrilled to be riding along with Mike in the semi. He told stories of Mike and his brother, Jordy, as kids, and he proudly talked about what great athletes his grandkids and great-grandkids are, joking that Mike was actually a better football player than his brother.

Becky’s story is similar to the role that many women take on in their farming operations. She considers herself a gopher, depending on what needs done each day. This includes driving the silage truck during chopping, combine during soybeans, packing the trench, helping them move from field to field, helping run errands, bringing them lunch, and getting calls when cattle are out so she gets to get cattle in. She does a little bit of everything, whatever they need.

Becky attended the Women Managing the Farm Conference in February with the goal of getting more involved in her family’s operation.

“We have four girls, very close in age, and so for the last six years, I’ve been raising babies and that’s all I’ve done. I want to get more involved I want to be able to help my husband and to be able to understand what he’s talking about when he talks to me about things.”

She went to the conference to get a better understanding of what’s going on in the agriculture industry.

“I loved the conference and I can’t wait to go back this year.”

She went to numerous sessions and took notes from each of the speakers. She enjoyed the team building groups, with so many different generations of women farmers in one room. She says she was able “to get a different take on everybody’s farming, how everyone else does things to get ideas for ours.”

One of the sessions she went to was on bookkeeping. “Bookkeeping is very knew to me,” she said. “I also went to a session on breeding cattle and short term breeding and all that, and that’s what my husband does all the time is AI’s and so it just helped me have a better understanding for that situation.”

Becky tells others about the conference and how much she enjoyed all the sessions.

“They were all wonderful. I loved it and I told everybody about it because it was so great!”

Becky talked about the conference as we stood in the freshly-cut wheat field, her eyes always looking around to find four little girls as they played, helped Dad and Grandpa, and climbed on straw bales in their shorts and tennis shoes. I asked her how she makes sure her kids are safe on the farm.

“They’ve been around it their entire lives. Everybody keeps an eye out for them. They kind of know where they can and can’t grab to make it safe. They love to be involved and they love to help. They love to have a job and know what their job is and figure it out.”

Here’s to the next generation on Nelson Angus Farms.