My Generation

30 Days of Farms & Families: The Bremmers

Day 26: Chad and Deb Bremmer farm for the next generation in Stephenson County.

It was six kids ago when we first met Chad and Deb Bremmer. We were young grain and beef farmers in western Illinois; they were young grain and dairy farmers from northern Illinois. We met through the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader committee and became fast friends. The Bremmers, in short, are just good people.

And over the years, they've become parents to Ben, 7, Ethan, 4, and Eli, 2.

Illinois farm family

They raise corn, beans, wheat and alfalfa on 1800 acres in Stephenson County, near Pearl City. They also raise 700 head of replacement heifers for two local dairies. Chad and Deb farm with Chad's parents, Ron and Karen, and with his brother Ross and his wife, Melanie.

Off the farm, Deb works as a nurse in the Freeport hospital, mostly for the health insurance – also common among farm families. Back on the farm, Deb is a green thumb extraordinaire, and is titled "Farmstead Beautification Manager." Seriously, she has something like 60 roses. And a huge garden. If I recall correctly, she and Chad hosted the entire Young Leader committee on their farm, pretty much the week after she gave birth to Ben. It was summertime and there was nary a weed on the farm. And I think she was singlehandedly renovating part of the house. She was amazing. I can't keep our place looking like that, even when I haven't just given birth.

Chad's concerns about agriculture echo those of his peers: regulations from those who have no understanding of agriculture. But he also worries about how big the farm will need to be to support the next generation in their family. Indeed, between his and his brother's families, there are two girls and five boys.

And family is everything to them. "We believe family comes first, and when there is an event at school or a birthday or whatever, time needs to be made for it," Chad says.

They're also big believers in community. Chad is on the school board, the Farm Bureau board; his dad is on the local elevator board and the ethanol plant board; his brother is on the soil and water conservation district board; and Deb teaches Sunday School.

In fact, both off the farm and on it, a whole lot that they do centers around the next generation.

As Chad says, "We give the best possible care to livestock, land and environment because we live here, eat the food produced here and without that care, we are not profitable or sustainable for the next generation."

30 Days of Farm & Families
Day 1: The Webels
Day 2: The Mies Family
Day 3: The Thomases
Day 4: The Stewarts
Day 5: The Weavers
Day 6: The Hawkinsons
Day 7: The Kortes
Day 8: The Walters
Day 9: The Schillings
Day 10: The Martins
Day 11: The Pratts
Day 12: The Bowmans
Day 13: The Pollards
Day 14: The Wachtels
Day 15: The Strodes
Day 16: The Buntings
Day 17: The Andras Family
Day 18: The Liefers
Day 19: The Purvis Family
Day 20: The Jones Family
Day 21: The Smith Family
Day 22: The Buhrows
Day 23: The Elmores
Day 24: The O'Briens
Day 25: Sean Arians

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