Future of Farming: The Next Generation
Bauer Farms Inc. – Hard Work Is Learned on the Farm
By: Julia Ruiz, Michigan Corn Intern
On Tuesday, August 24th, 2021, I had the pleasure to visit Bauer Farms Inc. to speak with Brandon Bauer – the next generation of this four-generation family farm. Bauer Farms is located in Reese, Michigan, and sits on around 1700 acres. They grow a variety of crops including corn, sugar beets, and dry beans. They are dedicated to continuing the growth of their farm and including practices that ensure the health of their land is preserved for the following year.
I spoke with Brandon a bit about the challenges that a young farmer, or really any farmer, faces in this industry. Some of the challenges he has faced have to do with the physical stressors of the work – working rain or shine, temperatures that are hot or cold, the long hours, and just the overall hard-working nature of being a farmer. Although this can be a lot, he emphasized that this is the work he wants to be doing. Brandon attended Michigan State University’s two-year agricultural technology program always knowing he would return to the farm.
Sustainability is a hot topic surrounding agriculture today and I wanted to hear Brandon’s take on the subject, as well as learn about the sustainability initiatives Bauer Farms is taking to ensure the farm's preservation. Bauer Farms is working to do what they think is best for their farm and it has proved to be beneficial for them so far. One of the main practices that they are implementing is the use of cover crops. Cereal rye is their cover crop of choice, and this is helping them maintain the quality of their land.
Farming is not without its challenges but with that, there is much to be grateful for. When I asked for Brandon’s take on what he finds to be the most satisfying part of the job, he said that it boiled down to the fact that every day is different. Having a job where no day is the same leaves room for versatility and keeps him on his toes. Harvest is also his favorite time of year because he gets to see the fruits of his labor – not to mention finally getting a break from some of the other intensive work!
Looking towards the future of farming, technology is one of many aspects of farming that is constantly changing. In the next 25 years, Brandon sees technology advancing to the point that farmers will no longer need to be in a tractor but be able to do everything from a computer. With that, he hopes to see advances in auto steer continue as this has been one of the most useful advancements he’s seen throughout his time being a farmer. Lastly, I wanted to hear Brandon’s advice for future young farmers. He says it’s important not to get too stressed out. Farming is labor-intensive work, but learning to take a curveball is crucial. He jokes around saying “and if you’re with your dad, don’t be afraid of getting yelled at because it’s going to happen and you’re going to screw up…eventually something is not going to go your way and that’s just a part of farming.”