For Buffalo County Farm Bureau member and Nebraska Farm Bureau District 5 Director John Martin, farming is multi-generational. His family has been in the county since 1906; his father and uncle left teaching in the ’70s to start farming. Today, John and his younger brother Charles work side-by-side with them.
John received his degree in agronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and married Leslie in 1993. Over the years, the farm has grown and expanded and has more acres of center pivot-irrigated land. This diversity allows the four partners to farm without hiring much help; they grow corn, soybeans, winter wheat and forage acres (alfalfa or grass hay). They also run yearling steers on corn stalks in the winter and graze them on pasture in the summer.
John says conservation efforts on their farm are of utmost importance and they’ve seen the benefits. When he was younger, he and his father planted a number of cedar trees and now each pivot corner has a well-established windbreak that’s good for the farm and good for the wildlife. Their operation also boasts acres of shelterbelts and tree lines for conservation.
John previously served as Farm Bureau district director and looking back, says, “We feel very strongly about the benefits of the Young Farmer and Rancher
(YF&R) program – we are products of that program. The leadership development that we garnered and the friendships we made across the U.S. are invaluable. Leslie and I attended a national YF&R meeting when we were dating and have benefited from what we learned ever since.”
John says when you’re involved in agriculture the “6 Degrees of Separation” theory shrinks. “The connections we’ve made through involvement — I don’t believe we couldever begin to give back to Farm Bureau what the organization has given to us.”
The couple has two daughters: Jenna-18 and Lani-16.