Hall County Farm Bureau members Travis (pictured on the right) and Tina Rainforth have taken the long way around when it comes to farming. Travis’s grandparents and parents were in agriculture but the Farm Crisis of the 80s took its toll and his father made the decision to take a job at Case New Holland farm equipment manufacturer and has been there the better part of 25 years. After graduating from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis, Travis worked on an assembly line at a combine plant and helped farm with a neighbor, while Tina worked as a veterinary technician in Grand Island.
The couple now runs about 400 acres of corn, soybeans, milo, alfalfa and prairie hay, owns a small cow/calf operation and has 40 lambs. Because lambs eat different grass than cattle, he’s able to run them both on the same 110-acre plot which cuts down on his stocking rate. Travis said even though farming was unkind to generations before him, it’s in his blood and there’s no better way of life for his family. The couple has three children: Elizabeth, Ben and Brian.
The extremely high price of land and rent prices are among the top challenges Travis faces when it comes to agriculture today. And he didn’t inherit land or equipment which meant he had to start from scratch.
Inquiring minds wanted to know more from Travis, including information about sheep production since that’s unusual to Nebraska. Since consumers may have similar questions, Travis says the best way to get information about today’s farming practices is to go straight to the source: ask a farmer.
So, what makes Travis’s operation special? Travis took part in a Fontanelle Hybrids AquaView Project where a probe is inserted on a farm to schedule irrigation to make sure farmers are being efficient with water use. He used it to make sure he wasn’t over-irrigating, washing away nitrogen and in general, wasting water. Travis tells us how this made a difference on his farm.