Lance and Krystal Atwater: Growing Popcorn and Nacho Chips for a Good Life in Nebraska
Ever wonder where your popcorn and nacho chips come from? Right here in Nebraska!
Second generation farmer Lance Atwater and his wife, Krystal, gear up for another planting season. The Atwaters have a diversified farm, raising yellow corn, popcorn, soybeans, and non-GMO white corn. Lance says they have been growing popcorn and non-GMO white corn for several years. It’s fun growing a product that goes right into the food supply.
“If you go to a movie theater or you’re shopping at the grocery store and pick up a box of popcorn, there’s a chance that came from our field. The same with the white corn. If you enjoy those chips with your nachos, that’s what our white corn is going into,” Lance said.
Nestled along the southern edge of Adams County, the Atwater family farm buzzes with activity. As the first-generation farmers, Lance’s father Kevin, came to Nebraska from Santa Monica, California. He, along with his wife, Denise, started the family farm near Ayr and now Lance and Krystal are building upon that solid foundation.
“I’ve been around farming basically since I was a little kid. I was out helping my Dad irrigate in the summertime and was one of those kids that took naps in the tractor. There’s just something about being on the farm and knowing that you’re helping provide food for the world,” Lance said.
Krystal is the other piece of the puzzle that completes this farming couple. She grew up helping on her family’s cattle ranch in Idaho. It has been in her family since they came across the Oregon Trail. A scholarship helped Krystal earn her college degree in Chicago, but the city life had her missing her ranching roots. Krystal was working as a Purina rep when she met Lance and landed in Nebraska.
“When I’m not on the road working, my job is to help out on the farm. I’m in the tractor if they need me. I think a lot of people forget that women are very active on family farm operations. We tend to just stay quiet, but I think it’s important for people to realize that women in agriculture are very strong forces behind the scenes,” Krystal said, who is now a national accounts manager for Land O’Lakes Purina.
Caring for the land is important to the Atwaters. They use farming practices that enhance the soil and protect the land, use technology to help them adjust how much water is needed during the growing season, and use updated machinery to ensure they are being the best possible care takers of the land.
“We all want to raise our families in a safe environment. Farmers don’t want to over spray a field because ultimately we’re the ones reaping the benefits or we’re hurting ourselves if we have negative farming practices,” Krystal said.
Lance and Krystal Atwater of Adams/Webster County Farm Bureau are local farmers producing the food you enjoy every day. Right here in Nebraska!