Ten or so years ago, John and I sat in an orientation meeting for the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders committee. Among the other couples were Ted and Julie Mies. And though John had known Julie in college, somehow I never crossed their paths with either of them (despite mutual friends). Crazy.
Especially crazy because we all hit it off right away. We were young, just getting started in our families' farming operations, wives working off the farm, no kids yet but thinking about it. Also, Illini fans.
Over the years, we had babies together, we've vacationed together, we've embarked on annual farm tours each summer, and we occasionally stop in at their place in rural Waverly en route home from southern Illinois. My kids think Samantha and Amber are the best. Their long-lost cousins or something.
Julie and I trade work stories, hash out how to best work from home, trade kid advice and generally catch up whenever we can. John and Ted have extended cell phone conversations, like last night when we were all trying to figure out whether the MF Global bankruptcy would bankrupt us. (so far, we're going with "no.")
Today, Ted and Julie raise corn, soybeans, sheep and cattle in rural Sangamon County – enough of each to keep them busy – with Ted's parents, Ed and Jean Ann. They are parents to Samantha, 9, and Amber, 7. Julie has long worked in the hotel industry and currently works for a hotel supply company. (That's right; Julie is the ultimate vacation planner. She's awesome.) And, she helps with the farm books and even sells her own percentage of grain. Rock on, Julie.
I asked them what worried them most about farming. Ted responded: "Keeping up with technology, and the size of farm it will take to go keep up with the technology of newer larger machinery."
Apparently, Samantha piped up with her own answer about what Daddy worries about (that's Samantha above, holding her lamb). "Getting done on time, having the combine broke down in the middle of harvest, getting good crops, rain."
Really, is she perceptive or what? Even Ted decided he liked her answer better. These farm kids...they know stuff.
30 Days of Farm & Families
Day 1: The Webels