By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family’s Life
Benton County’s first ever Farm Family of the Year aren’t strangers to farming. Lana Wallpe has a solid background in farming while Steve Wallpe is a third generation farmer. Steve’s family ran a dairy farm for about 40 years.
One of the first things you would probably notice while visiting the Wallpe farm in Benton County are the windmills. “We are surrounded by them,” Lana says. Lana and Steve live there with their two daughters. She likes them and feels they add a unique character to the land. They farm 1800 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat. They also have a feeder calf operation. The calves arrive weighing 500-600 pounds and are fed out until they reach 1100-1200 pounds and then they are shipped off to market.
“We farm because Steve loves it and so do I,” Lana says. “I always knew I would marry a farmer. Steve especially loves working with the cattle. He has the intense work ethic of a farmer and the knack for mechanical tinkering needed to fix everything. The satisfaction comes in watching crops and livestock grow, finding new ways to better what we are doing, and taking care of our land for generations to come.”
Lana isn’t afraid to help out on the farm. She started out as cook, mover from field to field, and “fetcher of parts.” Lana tells of a time when she went into an implement store with a piece of a corn stalk the length of the bolt she was supposed to pick up. Once the girls started school, she began to learn how to drive the tractors and the combine. She and Steve both feel it’s important to let their girls know that they can do anything their dad can do – age and size appropriate, of course! She encourages them to ride with her in the combine and tractors so they know they can farm someday just like a boy could and the girls are getting more hands-on experience on the farm every day.
Lana feels it is important to put a face with agriculture because “the media places more and more emphasis on “factory farms,” but the honest truth is most of our country’s farms are maintained and owned by individual farmers. Whether we raise livestock or grow crops, we are families trying to earn a living and maintain the highest standards for the health of our animals and condition of our land. There are great days and hard days. We recently discovered that one of our 4-H calves died for no apparent reason, and our daughter took it very hard. It’s important to know that there are smiles and tears behind each piece of grain and meat we produce."
Want to learn more about the Wallpes? Visit Lana’s blog to follow their day to day life on the farm.