Monday, July 15, 2019

This way of life - farming

Farming is an Act of Faith

by Terry and Linda Lauby

We are affectionately referred to as “Southsiders” by neighbors, family and friends. That’s because our home, farm, and commercial cattle feeding business is located on the south side of the Platte River in the heart of Nebraska.

Linda ant Terry Lauby
We are the third generation to farm this land, which was originally purchased in the early 1900s by Michael J. Lauby, Terry’s granddad. We currently farm about 600 acres of corn, and lease, share crop, or own another 600 acres of alfalfa.

All the corn and alfalfa produced on the Lauby farm is used to feed the cattle in the feedlot. Since we do not produce enough crops to sustain the feedlot cattle, additional corn is purchased from our neighbors.

Lauby Co. Inc. is permitted by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality for 6,500 head of cattle. It’s is a small operation by feedlot standards, but it works for us. Farming and operating our commercial cattle feeding business isn’t a job, it’s a way of life. The hours are long, the work is hard and it must be done in all kinds of weather.

This way of life—farming—is also a family affair. We have two married daughters: Heidi and husband Edwin, and Jessica and husband Michael. The farm is also a favorite place for their four grandchildren: Ellery, Adelyn, Terrence and Freya, who affectionately call their grandparents Ma and Pa.
The good Lord only created so much land, so we try our best to be good stewards. Farmers and ranchers are the original environmentalists. We apply “natural” fertilizer to our soil and limit the use of pesticides. Healthy soil is vital to growing ample food to feed an increasing world population.

Each spring, Terry is excited to get back into the fields, plant the seeds and pray for a successful crop. Linda handles all of the office work for the commercial cattle feeding business and the farm. Each year we are also reminded of I Corinthians 3:6-7: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters because he makes the plant grow.”

Once the crops are planted, we usually pray for rain. But this spring we received above normal amounts of rainfall. Many farmers were unable to even plant their fields because they remained flooded.

When the storm clouds appear, we pray for no hail and just the right amount of rainfall because we also manage a feedlot. Cattle do not perform well in muddy, sloppy lots.

We are blessed to own irrigated cropland so we can supplement the moisture in times of drought. Laying out pipe was a family affair when the girls were young. After the pipe was laid, it was a nightly ritual for all four Laubys to climb into the pickup and go irrigate. The temperature was hot, the bugs were bad, and the girls always managed to get muddy. But there was such a feeling of peace and sense of accomplishment in those green fields of corn against the vibrant, blue Nebraska sky. Today, most of the pipe has been replaced with pivots and the helpers are now our grandchildren, but the feelings of peace and accomplishment are the same.

“Who plants a Seed beneath the Sod
And waits to see Believes in God.”

During the months of June, July and August, Terry and our two hired men keep busy windrowing and baling the alfalfa. The perfect bale of hay is made when there is no rain and low humidity. Three to four thousand big round bales are put up each year to meet the needs of the feedlot.

Fall is Linda’s favorite time of the year, when we gather the fruits of our summer labor. At harvest time, we pray for good weather (no rain), safety for all harvesters, no equipment breaking down, great yields, and a good price for our crop.

Farmers only get paid once a year. Even though we look at farming as a way of life, the reality is, farming is a business. The operating note at the bank has to be addressed, and taxes and other bills paid ,with enough left over for our daily livelihood. Each year we pray for a profit on the farm, but most years we are happy just to break even.

The good Lord has guided us through 49 years of up and down, roller coaster cycles of farming. It is our prayer that we are able to enjoy several more years on the farm—our way of Life! Because…

Farming is an Act of Faith!

Terry and Linda Lauby are members of First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, NE. They were named 2018 Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce Farm Family of Year.

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