The Iowa State Fair has a competition every year called ‘The Way We Live’. It’s an award honoring family farms. I applied this year, didn’t win, but no big deal because I’m still proud of what I wrote. I just thought that I would share this with all of you and my love for my farm!
I’ve attached the link if you’d like to learn more about the ‘Way We Live’ award! It’s a great award to win! http://www.iowastatefair.org/competition/the-way-we-live-award/
Here’s a little story about me and my family.
Westwind Farm. You would think that we would name our farm something along the lines of, “Gregorich Family Shorthorns” or “Gregorich Family Farm”, but we didn’t. We decided to call our farm Westwind because whenever there is wind blowing from the west, it usually means good things are happening on the farm. The hay is drying, the cows are calving, the chickens are laying eggs, or the ground is drying so we can get in the fields. It has nothing to do with moon signs, even though we follow those quite regularly, it has everything to do with coincidence and luck. Westwind Farm is where my sister and I grew up.
My father, Dave Gregorich, raises Shorthorn cattle, broilers and hens, a small collection of cats, and he also is active in farmer’s market. My mother, JoAnne, is the manager of the LaMotte Telephone Company and enjoys coming home from work to help on the farm. My parents are an unstoppable team on the farm. My mother grew up on a farm and so did my dad. They have raised hogs, cattle, and chickens together their entire 35 years of marriage.
Around 10 years after my parents got married they had my sister and a few years later they had me. My sister, Cassie, grew up with the farm in her blood. She was always dad’s number one chore girl until I came along and then she had to share the title. Cassie and I have been in love with the cattle industry since we were able to walk. Growing up, dad would bring sick calves into the mud room and we would love and cuddle them until they were strong enough to go back outside. As five year olds, we showed bottle calves and strut our stuff. When we were old enough we joined 4-H and started showing cattle with a little bigger weight. We were one of very few Shorthorn girls in our county. We loved being different and having animals that were unique. Cassie later became the Beef Princess and then Queen. My dad was never so proud. His daughter represented the very essence of our life. The same year that Cassie was Beef Queen she placed Grand Champion at the Iowa State Fair with her steer Hawk in the carcass show. We were living high. We knew we had good animals and we finally proved it!
As I was growing up, I knew that I wanted to be a farmer. In third grade my teacher, Mrs. Grutz, asked us to draw what we wanted to be when we got older. I drew ‘Farmer Kellie’. Farming was in my blood at a very young age. As I grew up I was mocked and regularly made fun of for being such a ‘farmer.’ My friends still joke that I can’t hang out because I have to help my dad do chores. Then I joined FFA. My sister refreshed the FFA program in high school so I was lucky enough to join when I was old enough. I finally met people that were interested in the same thing I was and I didn’t have to be ashamed of something I loved. I once again became ‘Farmer Kellie’. I was the President of Bellevue FFA Chapter, Vice President of Otter Creek Shooting Stars 4-H club, President of the County Council in Jackson County, and finally showed cattle again.
Cassie and I both attended Iowa State University for agricultural majors and realized how important agriculture was to us. We were then on the man hunt for men that loved farming, cattle, green tractors, and Ford trucks. We grew up a little biased. We grew up on a 3020, 4020, 3010, and B John Deere Tractor, our dad and grandfather never drove anything other than a Ford, and if you haven’t figured it out yet, cattle were our lives. Well Cassie and I both lucked out.
Cassie is now married to a wonderful farm boy who drives a Ford, raises show cattle (and keeps her six beautiful shorthorns around), but he is a little color blind on tractors and breed of cattle. We kind of let that slide by.
I am just as lucky. I am dating a sensational man who raises purebred Angus cattle, drives red tractors, and he’s a Ford man. He at least has one thing going for him.
Cassie and I didn’t really choose these men because they were Ford guys or because they had cattle. Cassie and I realized that we needed a man who is just as passionate about farming, animals, and being outdoors as we were. It didn’t matter what kind of animal, tractor, or truck. We just happened to be lucky enough to fall in love with men who like the same things we do.
As you can tell, Cassie and I became the women we are today because of how we were raised, where we were raised, who raised us, and our surroundings. We both chose a higher education based on agriculture, we both decided to continue raising cattle, and we both are very passionate about agriculture in Iowa.
We didn’t just magically decide to become farm girls. Our father worked us on that farm like we were boys. He was an equal opportunity employer. Our mother was right along our sides as we were throwing small square bales into the barn, pitching out the chicken house, and sorting cattle. My sister is an excellent cattle sorter and very good working calves. I’m more of the lover on the farm. I’m right there when a cow is having a calf, I’m the first one to see the new babies, I love feeding five gallon buckets to the calves, and I love walking around my cows and just being in their essence. I’m good around the farm and do all the sorting, treating, and AI-ing right alongside my dad. I’ve even started my own herd of Herefords and I have a few miniature Herefords in the works too. My passion is farming. My life revolves around farming.
There is something so relaxing and comforting about riding on the wheel well of a tractor while your dad drives. There’s something so wonderful about unloading a fresh batch of ground feed and having calves surround you and lick your fingers. There’s something so magical about watching a new baby calf come into this world or helping deliver a new baby. My cattle aren’t just meat products to me. They are my family. They are my dad’s other children. My mom’s stress relieve. My sister’s happiness. Growing up on a cattle farm allowed my sister and I to become the strong, work orientated, humanitarian, and happy people that we are today.
I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for my mother having picnics out in the alfalfa field so we could eat lunch with dad when he was cutting hay, my mom putting me on a blanket when I was little while she unloaded hay, my dad having me open gates when he hauled manure, put silage out, or needed to unload feed, my sister teaching me how my dad wants us to sort cattle, my dad teaching us how to show cattle, or for my dad teaching me the true meaning of farming. Not everyone gets to experience the life I got and I feel sorry for them. I’m a true farm girl. Bred and raised by two farm kids. The apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree and my sister and I are eternally grateful!
This picture is the backside of my farm. It is what the cows see as they walk up to get water. It is also the essence for my header. It’s the side not many people get to see.