Once a Reluctant Farmer, Gina Gadient Reflects on the Joys of Life on the Farm
Hello, my name is Gina and I live in Eastern Iowa, on a farm I like to refer to as ‘God’s Country’. My husband, Randy, and I farm approximately 400 acres with the help of our children. Not only am I proud to be a farmer’s wife, I am proud to be a farmer! We have a farrow-to-finish operation with approximately 150 sows. That means we raise the pigs from birth to market. The market-ready pigs are sold to Niman Ranch. We also have 65 stock cows.
Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation Scholarship recipient, Abigail Hansen, is a proud farm kid. She grew up helping raise cattle and hogs and cultivating the land for alfalfa, corn and soybeans, alongside her parents, Niman Ranch farmers. Abigail credits her farm upbringing with teaching her the values of hard work and responsibility, which are proving useful as she pursues a degree in agronomy and environmental science.
Abigail is a recipient of the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation Scholarship to support her studies. The Foundation was started in 2006 with just one scholarship and over the past 11 years, thanks to our generous donors, has dispersed almost $500,000 to the children of Niman Ranch farmers and ranchers who are committed to furthering their education to support sustainable agriculture and rural communities.
Learn more about Abigail’s roots and aspirations in the five questions below:
Meet Niman Ranch family farmers, Brad and Kirsten Eckerman of Quit Yer Belly Achin’ Acres, a family-owned and operated farm located in Southern, Wisconsin. These two hard-working farmers raise hogs humanely and sustainably for Niman Ranch. Without these two and the help of their two kids, Brad’s dad and grandfather, Niman Ranch wouldn’t be the same.
We love sharing Q&A’s with Niman Ranch family farmers, and lucky for us, Brad and Kirsten took some time to come inside from their daily chores and a full-time job to answer a few questions about sustainable farming and what it’s like to be a Niman Ranch family farmer. read more
Last month, I traveled to Panera Bread’s annual corporate and franchisee conference in Orlando, FL. At this conference, Ashley DiBlasi, Niman Ranch’s Senior Marketing Director, and I spoke with Panera Bread employees about what makes Niman Ranch so special and provided a face to our brand.read more
The Scheer family farm has undergone some pretty big changes in the last several months. This year we have built two brand new steel buildings. One is for breeding and contains several pens for groups of sows, a boar pen, and an office area. That’s right, an office. I guess dad is a little more hip than I thought. The other building is for farrowing and is complete except for the pens, which we will be constructing ourselves. These new buildings will not only give us more space but also allow for more temperature control during extreme hot and cold periods. Which, in Iowa, seems to be most of the year.
Family farmer John Gilbert started selling pigs to Niman Ranch 20 years ago when he and his wife were young parents to three small children. Their oldest son John joined the family farm and today the father-son duo are still raising hogs for Niman Ranch. read more
The Sibbel farm has been in the family since 1919 so it was no surprise that Niman Ranch farmer, Scott Sibbel, inspired by his dad and two grandfathers, was eager to start farming at a young age. Today, Scott raises hogs and cattle for Niman Ranch on the family farm in Iowa in the traditional and sustainable way his grandfathers did. Scott says they taught him to farm so that “hogs are able to act like hogs” and the “cattle able to act like cattle”. That sounds like good advice!
Scott and his wife Martha have two children, Anthony and Ellie.
Scott took some time to come in from the field and answer a few questions in today’s Q&A with a Niman Ranch Farmer.
Kennley and Melissa Wright are family farmers who live and work on their farm outside of Colman, South Dakota (population 400) with their four young children.
Kennley Wright is a fifth generation family farmer. His family emigrated here from Scotland and laid claim to the family farm in 1877. Recently an elderly family member pointed out a section on their property as the site of their original farm settlement. Out of curiosity, Kennley explored the area using a metal detector and discovered remnants from that first settlement.
John Gilbert named 2017 Farmer of the Year Each year, one farmer is honored as Niman Ranch’s Farmer of the Year. This exclusive recognition goes to a person who has stood out over the year for both the excellence with which they raise their hogs or manage their farm and the contributions they have made to Niman Ranch’s success. John Gilbert of Gibralter Farms was honored as the 2017 Farmer of the Year. The Gilberts, recipients of numerous awards and honors, operate a 770-acre diversified farm raising traditional pasture-farrowed pigs. John has served on the Niman Ranch Pork Company Advisory Board and is active with other groups such as Practical Farmers of Iowa. Gibralter Farms is a family operation with John and Beverly’s son and daughter-in-law and one of John’s five brothers and his wife working on the farm.