'The 2% Project, The Farmer's Story'
Feb 15, 2012
The following blog was submitted by Matt Boucher, a farmer from Illinois who developed "The 2% Project." Click here to learn more about participating in The 2% Project.
The Farmer's Story
Introducing Dolly Farmers, Leroy, Ill
Welcome to the first farmer feature post of The 2% Project! Today The 2% Project features Dolly Farms of Leroy IL. I would like to take this opportunity to thank this inspiring young farm family for participating in the project as well as agreeing to be the first to farmer feature post within the project. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed working with Jenny and Eric on this project. Now on to Dolly Farms! Introduction: Dolly Farms of Leroy IL is owned and operated by the Mennenga Family. They are young, educated, and aspiring 4th generation family farmers who use today’s modern technology to care for their crops and livestock in an efficient and humane manner in order to provide consumers with quality meat and grain products. I am grateful to have met them, and am thankful they are part of this project. Here is their story:
Our Farm Story (By Jenny Mennenga)
Dolly Farms Inc. is a mid-sized family farm which is wholly owned and operated by Eric and Jenny Mennenga of Leroy, Illinois, producing #2 yellow corn and soybeans. Some of the soybeans we produce are used for seed beans (for a seed company) which will be grown in the following year by other farmers. We also have a small cow-calf herd, and maintain over 100 acres of pasture. What makes our operation unique is that we both come from farm families, but were are farming independently from our families. We also are quite a bit younger than most farmers in the area, Eric is 34 and Jenny is 33. We feel our niche to the market is not to be the biggest, but strive to do the best job that we can do. We utilize technology fully, but rely on sound agronomics and common sense. We surround ourselves with smart people, such as accountants, lawyers, mechanics, and input suppliers who help us make the best decisions possible for our family farm.
Eric is a graduate of Illinois State University in Ag Industry Management and Jenny is a graduate of Iowa State University in Agronomy and Seed Science. In addition to farming, Jenny has a seed dealership and Eric works for Illinois Department of Transportation in the winter time plowing snow. We have 3 kids under the age of 5 that our farm supports along with our "part time" jobs.
We chose to be a part of "The 2% Project" because we want the general public to know that farmers today are modern, care about the environment, can have tremendous community pride, and we pay taxes just like they do. Farmers today need to be extremely agile in running a business, buying inputs, selling grain, growing a crop, negotiating leases, as well as being pulling a calf all at the same time. Our dream is to be able to have our children farm with us (that is, if they want to farm), and be able to sustain their families.
Our biggest concerns are the rapidly growing world population, and the pressure the farming community is going to face in feeding, clothing, fueling this population boom. Also, as farmers have become a 2% minority. We will face increasing mandates on water usage, pollutants, and other standards that may be difficult or impossible to manage.
Farming is a very noble profession, and we are proud to be a part the 2%.