Name: Scott Stedje
Involvement in Agriculture: Last year my family celebrated 100 years of farming and ranching. I am the 5th generation to farm and the 4th to live in my house. Not only do we farm cotton, wheat and corn but also run yearling cattle and cow/calf pairs in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. I live in a small Norwegian community north of Gruver, TX called Oslo. For some crazy reason my family sold land in Iowa and moved down to the wide open spaces and break out farm land; land that was said to be unfit for human life in a report sent to the President of the United States at the time.
My grandfather had two brothers and during WWII they drew straws to see which two would go to war and who would stay home- and we wonder why they were called the greatest generation. My grandfather drew short straw and he stayed as the other two went to war. One brother was KIA in war and the other came back after it was over.
Another crazy idea they had was to drill water wells and irrigate farm. So this is why I spend hours working on sprinklers and irrigation motors.
What is Your Most Difficult Moment in Agriculture: This is a loaded question because we all know there are discomforts in agriculture. Droughts, bug infestations, and the rising cost of equipment and inputs are just part of the game. Last year we had 3.29 inches of moisture and this year we have had .02. So I am not sure if I have had my most difficult moment, Lord I HOPE SO. 2011 will go down as the worst year farming since my great-great grandfather Stedje. We have no dryland crop, the pasture country never turned green and we could not keep irrigated crops from burning up from heat and wind. We all lost a lot of equity and banks started using a 4 letter word that is a little longer than four, Liquidity. But just like every other farmer, we pray for moisture and prepare to give them hell in 2012.
Another difficult moment was I had to take over the farm when I was a Jr. in college. My father made me pay for my own college so that means I was broke just like 90% of all other college students. The day before he passed away, December 23, I had given plasma to have enough money to go to penny beer. Boy is college rough. A week later, I remember sitting down and paying end of year bills. I broke down and cried like a little girl because I have never seen numbers that used that many commas. My family pushed me to graduate and 1 ½ years, later my uncle came up and handed me a check to pay off student loans. He said as he gave me the check “This is what our family does, your father would have paid off your college just as his father did when he graduated.
What has been you most joyous moment in Agriculture: I find joy when I wake up and look across the open prairie and see a momma cow drop a calf out; to smell the moisture in the air and know God is sending rain; to walk out into my field and pick sweet corn for super. Things move a heck of a lot faster now, but also a heck of a lot slower than other parts of the country. In the winter 2007/2008 we had 4 inch rain and then a foot of snow, good wet snow and stayed white till spring. I hit my first “home run” that summer; we averaged 66 bushels on dryland and 74 on irrigated. The original Stedje section 93, a dryland farm, did 83 bushels across the entire 640 acres. It was a great feeling knowing I was feeding more people than I ever had.
Hands of a 5th generation farmer: Scott Stedje
Name: Scott Stedje