Page 57

Working Ranch April/May 2016

the family have kept up over the years. “My dad was actually born in this house, and it’s been added onto and changed fi ve different times already. There’s one room in this house that’s the same and everything else is different,” Richard shares with a laugh. Currently, the family operation consists of Richard and Laurie as well as their four adult children Erin, Nikki, Kory and Ty and their families who comprise the 4th and 5th generations, respectively. Building and maintaining a business that is able to provide a place for younger family members when the time comes is a challenge most producers face. Acquiring enough capital, land and additional resources is a risky venture even in the best of times. Richard gives a lot of credit to his late father, Dale, whom he worked side by side with until Dale’s death in 1999. “Pretty much what my dad accumulated was on his own,” Richard recalls. “My grandparents really didn’t have much. I remember my dad saying that he couldn’t get grandpa to do this, or do that, so he’d just go out on his own and do it. There were several opportunities that came up that his dad would always talk him out of it. Grandpa was always afraid to lose what little he had.” Dale’s appetite for risk taking and determination to build something of his own has defi nitely set the example for his family. “He really wasn’t afraid to be a pioneer,” Kory says of his grandpa. “If something new came along he wasn’t afraid to try it.” Dale was a very early adopter of center pivot irrigation and began utilizing the technology in the late 1960s. At that time most of their irrigated ground was located in the fl at, open country close to the home place. As the operation expanded, Dale and his wife, Joan, who still lives on the ranch, purchased acreage in the rolling sand hills south of Larned, Kansas. They applied some farming practices that seemed a bit unorthodox to the locals at the time. “In 1971 he was one of the fi rst to put pivots in the sand hills,” Richard remembers. In order for this venture to work, extensive dirt work and grading had to be done to level up the rolling terrain enough for the pivots to travel over them. “Not everyone thought that was a good idea back then but it didn’t take long, and as long as they could get water, everyone was doing it,” he says. Today, the farming operation consists of wheat, corn, milo, soybeans and various cover crops for grazing. STORY AND PHOTOS BY CORINNE PATTERSON The Josefi ak family runs a largely Angus-based herd on a variety of available forage from native grasses to cover crops and cornstalks. APRIL / M MAY 2016 I WORKING RANCH I 57


Working Ranch April/May 2016
To see the actual publication please follow the link above