This spring, we asked farmers, ranchers, and all agricultural producers to share their personal accounts of this year’s planting season with us through photos, videos, and written word. We received submissions from coast to coast, reaching as far west as the Rebel Creek Ranch LLC in Orovada, Nevada to as far east as the Deer Run Hay Co. in Branchburg, New Jersey.
We heard plans for selling crops, hopes for rain, visions for the future of their land and operations, and a general sense of optimism for the year ahead after putting a challenging year behind us. In the words of Forbes magazine founder B.C. Forbes, “It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the spring who reaps a harvest in autumn.”
Here are just a few of the photos and stories we received. Explore them all on our national plant 2021 storymap.
“Sweet corn is planted, and Bryce and Karly Eaves are checking into the emerging plants! They can’t wait to sell the corn out of their sweet corn patch this summer. Bryce sets up a table at the end of his driveway to sell it to all the neighbors! This year’s planting season has been great for corn, the rain is holding out and temps are warming up!”
- Andrew Eaves and Jessica Clark, Oak Bluff Farms, Woodsboro, Maryland
“I bought this farm in 2019 with an FSA loan. It was full of sage grass and blackberries. I sprayed for the blackberries and planted ryegrass, orchard grass, alfalfa, and white clover with a no-till drill last fall and this spring. Grasses are starting to grow all over. Last winter I struggled with feeding hay from August 2020 to April 2021. I’m hoping I will be able to extend the grazing season. I have started rotational grazing and plan to further break up the pastures into smaller areas as I’m able. Year round forage is the ultimate goal.“
- Douglas Hodges, D&J Black Herefords and Spotted Nubian Farms, Fulton County, Arkansas
“Our second year as a farm :) Last year we closed on our farm and then the pandemic began. We had lockdown and travel restrictions in Michigan, so getting things like the well and irrigation installed were very difficult. This year, things are going much smoother and our second-year crops are doing beautifully. We're moving onto building our farmer's market and cannot wait to welcome the public.”
- Samantha and Ron Fall, @ElderberryFarmsEstate, Traverse City, Michigan
"Our story begins in the heart of Ethiopia. It was here our director developed her sense of community and her love of service. She brings both of those passions to the programs at the Felege Hiywot Center. Programs like our Youth Farm Initiative provide Indianapolis youth with the opportunity to become active members of their community through service, develop as a helpful team player, and become a responsible family member."
- Sarah Peterson, Felege Hiywot Center, Indianapolis, Indiana
"The urban food pantry farm on the grounds of the Franciscan Monastery in Northeast D.C. We expanded the amount of ground under cultivation in 2020 in response to increased food insecurity caused by the pandemic. The guild's volunteers are further expanding planting during the spring and early summer to increase production of fresh vegetables in 2021.”
- Pete Quinn, Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild board member, Washington, D.C.
“[This is] my dad, Troy Hobson, planting corn into a no-till field. We farm around 2,500 acres of primarily corn, have about 50 head of beef cattle, and do custom hay (baleage & haylage) in Lawrence County, Indiana.
I am very hopeful and feel very good about this 2021 planting season, I think maybe because things are starting to feel more normal than they did in 2020 that I just have a more positive outlook for the year. We have had a few cold nights, and a random snow in April, but things are looking up and I like to look at the planting of seeds into the ground as signifying new growth and faith for 2021!”
- Paige Hudson, NRCS District Conservationist, Brownstown, Indiana
"As I near retirement, I have decided to simplify my operation, so I am only growing corn and soybeans. […] I have spent a lot of time cutting out trips across the field to reduce fuel use, equipment wear and time spent. It’s been paying off in good yields and being able to make a profit at a much lower price. My banker likes me, too.
Planting here has been fast and dry. We’ve had little moisture and cold temperatures so there is concern about germination. The first corn fields are starting to emerge so that is hopeful, we just need rain.
As always, farmers are optimists, we plant and hope that water and sunshine will give us a crop. With the current prices, I am hopeful I can retire in a few years and can turn over all the work to someone younger.”
- Michael Wojahn, southwestern Minnesota