May 22, 2017
The Farm Wife Feeds. That’s the name of the blog for my first visit in Indiana, Jennifer Campbell, and feed she does. From her friends and family to the pigs and cows on the farm, Jennifer feeds as she spreads her love of agriculture.
She grew up on a farm not far from where she lives and farms now with her husband Chris and their three kids. They raise row crops, pigs, and cattle in central Indiana, as the generations before them have done. While Chris and his dad’s roles on the farm really center around the crops, Jennifer focuses on the livestock.
When I first pulled up to the Campbell farm I was greeted by Jennifer. First on the agenda was checking the family’s herd of cattle. Jennifer, met her three kids out at the pasture to give a little bit of feed, and to check the herd’s health. From there it was back in the truck to the farrowing building to check the pigs and work the piglets. Once in the barn, Jennifer and her youngest daughter, Emmy Lou, set to work cleaning the floor, feeding the pigs who were actively farrowing and castrating, clipping teeth and tails on the newborn piglets. Recently, Emmy Lou has taken on more responsibility on the farm and really excels at working with the piglets. I really enjoyed watching this strong and smart young woman work so confidently with the piglets, going through the necessary animal husbandry steps to ensure the piglets grow and thrive. From there we visited the rest of the pig barns, following Jennifer as she fed and checked the pigs. As she worked, she explained the process of how they move from barn to barn based on their age and weight, and the steps they take in sending them to market.
Back out to the farmyard, we walked over to where Clay, Jennifer’s youngest was grinding feed. The young boy, who already knows he wants to farm for the rest of his life, ran the tractor and grinder with the ease and confidence of a seasoned worker, moving steadily about his daily chores.
A quick trip out to the field to check the growing crops, and a stop to talk to her husband Chris wrapped up the farming part of the day. From there we drove back to the farm, where we were welcomed by Jennifer’s friends. A group of ladies that Jennifer has met through blogging about her farm life, and who “mean the world to her.” A group of women from different walks of life, doing different things, but who connect over agriculture. They are the “Farm Wives”....Leah of Farmwifedrinks.com, Liz of farmwifecooks.com, and Jennifer of farmwifefeeds.com.
These blogs are the way these women connect with the non-ag world over recipes and other bits and pieces of their daily lives. While each woman has different roles in agriculture, from a professional FarmHer, to a mother of young kids and a dairy farmher, to a pig farmher, each brings something unique and special to their friendship. The gather on the front porch of Jennifer’s farm house, a front porch that dates back generations in Chris’ family, to talk, laugh, cry, eat and drink. They call it their Front Porch Friday’s. The husbands come and talk shop (farm shop that is), and the kids roam from the house to the barns. The kids range in age from one to 19, and the older ones keep an eye out for the younger ones as they play with a beloved calf, who seems more like a dog, called Pete. Each family contributes food and drink to the night, with the women using their beloved group as a test ground for new recipes. I can attest to a few of those, from Jen’s brownies and lemonade to Leah’s deviled eggs (which I have to give credit where credit is due...her husband made them that day).
I always like to point out that agriculture is a culture, and it takes all kinds to thrive. This little community of FarmHers is just that, their own little culture, made up different women, from different walks of life, but who gather to share in the life they love. At the end of the night, as I watched them laugh with each other, in the golden light of the setting sun, on a swing on Jennifer’s front porch, I saw that culture of agriculture. The culture of FarmHer’s; loving the land, caring for their community and feeding their people.
See clips from Jennifer's episode on RFD-TV here.
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