There are 98,000 farm families in Missouri who are the future of agriculture. They work long hours, in both good and bad conditions and are responsible for the way of life that those who do not farm have come to expect.
Monday evening, 114 of those families, including the Berry family of Pettis County, were recognized by the Missouri Farm Bureau as being the outstanding Missouri Farm Families of the year at a banquet hosted at the Missouri State Fair.
“For the last 57 years the Farm Bureau has recognized one family from each of the state’s counties for their outstanding work in their respective communities,” Blake Hurst, President of the Missouri Farm Bureau, said Monday morning. “As the traditional family farm is changing these families have found ways to adapt and succeed.”
The Berry family, Justin and Elizabeth, and their children Kate, 7, Winstin, 9, Addie, 12, and Jeanette, 13, have managed to do that on their farm north of Sedalia.
The farm has been in the Berry family since 1917.
“We have over 1,500 acres that we plant row crops on,” Justin Berry said. “We also have two chicken barns for Tyson’s, a large herd of cows, and just about every other farm animal you can imagine.”
The three girls raise sheep and Winstin raises pigs. They also have donkeys.
“Nothing is ever the same on the farm,” Berry said. “I like the fact that I am my own boss and that I can spend time with my wife and my children every day.”
When the children are not busy attending school in Green Ridge or with their 4-H projects they help on the farm.
“There is always something new living on the farm,” Jeanette said. “We all help out as much as we can.”
Berry agreed with Hurst that farming has changed in the past decades.
“Everything is a lot more electronic with the equipment,” Berry added. “You can do all kinds of neat things when they work.”
He added that tractors are an essential part of their farming operation because he could not foresee a time when the family would not grow row crops.
“This is our way of life,” Berry added. “We aren’t going to quit and someday our kids will own this farm. I’m proud to be able to say that.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484