What does it mean to be a farm owner?

Did you know that 97% of farms in the U.S. are family-owned?

So what does it mean to be a farm owner? Well, to me, owning a farm in Michigan means a lot more than just having a job.

It means taking care of the land that I own or when I rent land from someone else. If I’m planting a crop on that land, I need to understand what nutrients the land needs in order to grow fabulous crops like corn, soybeans, sugarbeets, wheat, tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, apples and even cherries, just to name a few. I collect samples of the earth, send them to a lab to be analyzed and then apply the right nutrients in the ground to support the soil for optimum health of crops.

It means taking care of the animals that I raise. Our farm has cows. Dairy cows mostly. They need a special diet to produce great tasting milk. So, we hire a nutritionist to help determine the cows’ diet and we have a veterinarian come weekly to help us care for our cows. We feed the cows every day and they have access to fresh water all day long.

Owning our family’s farm means taking care of buildings, equipment and employees. It means supporting our community by our income and expenses to local businesses.

Our farm is lucky enough to have four generations live and work our land, take care of our animals, the environment and support our local community. Farmers love to share their stories, so visit a family farm if you ever have the chance!

Jennifer Lewis grew up on a sheep farm in Hillsdale County. She married a third-generation dairy farmer, and together they have three grown children and three grandchildren. They raise cows, corn, soybeans, hay and have a small blueberry/retail business, and they’re involved with Hillsdale County 4-H and Michigan Farm Bureau, among other groups. Follow along with her family and farm at Pleasant View Dairy on Facebook.