Our farmer that we are featuring today is a friend of mine from Iowa. Amanda is a wonderful advocate for agriculture and I get to work with her on a number of projects with CommonGround. I am happy to introduce her to you today!
My name is Amanda Eben and I am a proud farmer. I grew up on a family farm in northwestern Iowa. Iowa, like other Midwestern states has ideal conditions for growing food. The rich, moist soil is ideal for growing different crops, which is why family raises corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. Fortunately, my family is able to feed what we grow for crops to our cattle and pigs. We also use the manure from both species to fertilize the farm ground as a source of natural way to replenish the soil nutrient content.
My family farm has not always been in my family name. It all began when my dad was young and decided to farm independently from his dad, because my grandpa did not have enough land for all four of his sons to farm together. As a result, my dad started his career as a farmer by working part-time on the farm for my grandpa and renting ground from a neighboring farmer. When the neighbors retired and decided to sell their farm ground, my parents were blessed with an opportunity to purchase it. I wasn’t very old when my parents bought our farm, but I remember it very well. My sisters and I were ecstatic that we would not be moving off the farm. We cherished farm living.
I don’t think I lived a typical childhood compared to most kids my age. I had three older sisters for a total of four girls. When my dad needed help on the farm, he had very little choice but to request the help of my mom, my sisters, or myself. By a very young age, I was taught to drive anything with wheels on our farm, consisting mostly of tractors. I was also responsible for helping take care of animals, which was my favorite responsibility. In my opinion it was not work to bottle feed baby calves from my family beef herd or help wean baby pigs from our sow farm.
The passion I developed from living on a farm, especially caring for livestock, never escaped me. In fact, it drove me to attend South Dakota State University to obtain an Animal Science degree. Upon graduation from SDSU, I resorted back to my Iowa roots by landing a career in the swine industry where I currently work for a swine management company. I am lucky enough to work one-on-one with pig farmers, like my dad, every single day.