Stacked high with hay bales, another truck rolls out of Northview Family Farms in Boyd County. This truck is headed across the county with its load of high-quality hay, of which Kyle Lechtenberg couldn’t be prouder.
Kyle always knew he need to bring something new back home to the farm. As the fifth of his parents’ eight children, he needed to find something of value, something unique to carve out a corner of his own in the family business. Commercial hay was just the ticket.
“The first field of hay, I went and cut in early May when nobody else was cutting. We put up that first load of hay and it shipped right out of the field to a place in Wisconsin. The out of state truck showed up at the field and it was something no one around here had ever been doing. And it took off from there. We got all the referrals to do business around here. So, ever since we’ve been doing commercial hay,” Kyle said.
In 2008, Kyle moved back the farm near Spencer, Nebraska after having worked three years prior for a commercial haying operation in Southeast Nebraska. He thought the model could be adapted to his family’s cattle operation. Nearly 15 years later, Northview Family Farms ships hay anywhere in the lower 48 states, has five employees, and has grown into an agribusiness that offers forage solutions, cattle and truck services, and family farm systems.
“We are now looking more at farming systems, how the cattle fit with the commercial hay, how the row crops fit in with that. Modern farming has gotten so complex. There are so many moving levers to pull at the right time of the year. We were really focused more on what the process looks like in terms of crop rotations, GMO versus non-GMO, seed fertilizer, and what’s the best route to go for the economics and what we sell to the consumer at the end of the day. Our goal is to produce sustainable affordable food, and at the same time create an economically viable business,” Kyle said.
Tiffany Lechtenberg is a nurse in their community, but she also contributes to the family business in every way she can. Tiffany says marketing is key. She helps bring business in is by developing and creating marketing newsletters and other materials.
“One of the ways I’ve been able to plug into our farm without necessarily being out in the tractor is to do a newsletter. Kyle gives me some good information and I just keep a good pulse on what’s happening on the farm. It’s been a really neat way to market what we’re doing and also advocate for ag. I think one of our goals is to be transparent in the process. We try to keep everybody informed,” Tiffany said.
Advocating for agriculture is a passion for both Tiffany and Kyle. They are involved in their county Farm Bureau, both serving on the board, are representatives to the Nebraska Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and were appointed to the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee in 2019.
“I’m farm Bureau proud because I’ve found an organization where not only can farmers and ranchers be United, but that they can find support in an organization that has a voice. We all have different challenges. We all grow different crops and raise different types of animals. But at the end of the day, we all face the same challenges. We’re all in this together,” Tiffany said.
“The opportunities have been a big thing for us because without that network, I think we can limit ourselves. Farm Bureau has done a great job of pushing us out there beyond what our normal circumstance would be. I’m constantly looking for networking opportunities to build our farm up and ideas to make it work a little bit better,” Kyle said.
Serving on the committees and being involved in their community has strengthen the Lechtenberg’s leadership skills and fueled their fire to inspire and engage with the next generation of agricultural leaders. It’s a passion they hope is passing down to their four children, Joycin (10), twins Addison and Austin (8), and Jackson (4). Joycin is already learning how to set up the GPS system on the tractor.
“One of the most beautiful things about raising kids in a rural community and on the farm is just seeing the value of a hard day’s work. I know my kids are going to know how to work hard and they’re going to know what it takes to finish a job It’s really wonderful to see them just enjoy life on the farm, the joy of a new baby calf and the excitement of spring, the excitement of harvest. There’s just so many unique things that ag offers to kids that you just don’t get anywhere else,” Tiffany said.
Kyle and Tiffany Lechtenberg of Boyd County Farm Bureau are this month’s Nebraska Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Month.