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"I'd like to ask a kindergartener, say, 'Where's their meat come from?' And then I'd like to ask my first grader or my preschooler, 'Where's your meat come from?' My girls would say, 'Jeff's Market.' We haul the steer up, or we haul the pig up. He butchers it for us, cuts it up, packages it. We go up, pick it up after its cured and bring it home. What would an urban first grader or preschooler say? 'The supermarket, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, HyVee,' you know.
     "The fact that they are able to go with me, go with Dad to work today, the hours that they would log in a tractor! I don't know if some people would say it's abusive or not, but they love it. Like today, Kalie didn't have preschool. She packed her cooler with three sandwiches and she went with Dad in the semi and we had a picnic in the semi while we were hauling corn. And she loves it. She looks forward to it. She called at 10:00 o'clock, wondered if we could have a picnic this morning. And, [I said,] 'You bet!' I won't turn that down.
     "In the tractor [during] planting or cultivating, we have a couple of pillows and a blanket. And they'll curl up on the floorboard and take a nap. There's a buddy seat with a seatbelt. They sit in that seatbelt, or in that seat belted in. They've learned how to count rows. They can count rows. It would be very interesting to interview them driving down the road to see what they know. They know all about irrigation; they know all about pivots, gravity irrigation, seed corn versus commercial corn, soybeans, wheat.
     "We raised wheat for the first time this year – 2007 was our first year. Low input costs and the wheat price was up there. And we sold some straw for a little extra income per acre. And my littlest one – she would have just turned four at the time – and Mom's unloading wheat on the auger wagon from the combine. And she goes, 'Dad, that's an awful lot of bread we're going to have to eat!' [Laughs.] So she knows at four that wheat's going to be milled and made into the bread for the masses.
     "I heard this the other day that everything from the coasts trickles to the middle of the United States and everything from the middle of the United States trickles back out. We can't do without any part of the nation."

Chris Ziegler – His Girls & Farming

   

Excerpts from Chris Ziegler’s Interview:

Farming Over Generations
Women on the Farm
Urban Sprawl, with Clyde Ehlers
Raising Kids for Export
Using Fertilizers
Tractors (& Horses) Bog Down
Planting Tech Changes
Tillage Changes