My Generation

30 Days of Farms & Families: The Kortes

Day 7: Daniel and Tiffany Korte fight flood and drought – either often impending – on their southern Illinois grain operation.

It's funny how, when as a woman you get to know another young woman before she's married, it becomes really hard to think of her with a different last name. Even when she's been married for, say, 12 years.

That's the way it is for me with Tiffany (Henry) Korte. I grew up showing Shorthorns with Tiffany, and in fact, we have a shared tartan past. Tiffany was the Illinois Shorthorn Lassie queen the year before I was, and she became the National Queen after that. Really, very, quite impressive, and I'm certain she's *thrilled* I have shared this bit of information with the world. But hey, at least I didn't include a photo, right?

Hailing from Sadorus, Tiffany grew up on a grain and livestock farm. Which is to say, she knew how to work. After college, she took a job as a county Farm Bureau manager in Massac County (yes, that is the very end of the state), met a local farmer and settled down.

Southern Illinois farm family

Today, she and Daniel Korte raise corn, beans, wheat and hay on 2,600 acres with Daniel's grandfather Lester Korte, father Steve Korte, and brother Darryl Korte. They are parents to Logan, 9, and Larkin, 5. Livestock is limited to a handful of hogs, steers and heifers they show locally.

Off the farm, Tiffany works at a local real estate office. Back home, she pitches in wherever needed.

What worries them about agriculture today? "The amount of regulations we have and those to come. Will there be so many regulations placed upon us that it puts small family farms out of business?"

And what worried them just a few months ago? Take a look.

Flooded Illinois farm

That's their home and farm, in the middle of the early May floods in southern Illinois. Talk about courage. The rain just kept falling. Fortunately, it stopped and their house never flooded but they sure had a mess in their fields.

In the grand scheme of life, it's the weather. It's just one unknown affecting their very livelihood every year. Add in the markets, price volatility, inputs, land competition and more, and you get a better picture of what the average Illinois family farmer deals with.

"People don't understand what it takes to be a farmer," Tiffany says. "Today, farmers are engineers, chemists, biologists, market analysts, mechanics, computer technicians. It's no longer Ma and Pa in their bib overalls and a horse and plow."

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

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