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.
Niman Ranch Farmer: Scott Sibbel
Q: What inspired you to become a farmer?
A: The desire and passion to start farming and continue the family tradition… it really started at a young age for me.
Q: What norms from the farm can we apply to our lives?
A: First, being grateful for what we have. Also, wasting less food. Growing up on the farm, it was a crime to waste food or resources. There is a lot of food waste out there today. If everyone takes care of their little piece, it can have a big impact.
Q: What’s the most pressing issue in food and agriculture that you’d like to see solved?
A: To me, it is what farmers get paid, and financing. Even in niche markets, it is important to maintain the proper balance of what the farmer gets paid and what the end product at the store or restaurant costs. It is important to find solutions to make it fair and balanced for everyone. Along the same lines is the challenge of young farmers getting started, especially with banking and finance. Access to land is another huge one.
Q: How can we inspire people to support family farmers in building a healthier food system?
A: I think it starts with getting people out on farms to see how their food is raised. That connection with where their food comes from stimulates people’s curiosity. We, farmers, share our story and people can connect with that. The positive response from getting our story out to consumers, the growing demand and market, excites me.
I also think branding the Niman Ranch farms on restaurant menus stimulates people’s interest in both knowing the animals were raised with care without the use of antibiotics or added hormones (in beef) and knowing where their food comes from.
As farmers, we want to know the value of our work is trusted and that what we do really matters. I wouldn’t have that in such a big way without Niman Ranch.