Become A Fan of Agriculture


Starting with the feed his cattle eat, Hank Klosterman monitors everything down to the penny.

"Everything we do here is down to a detailed science," the cattle feeder says.

The same's true at Pillen Family Farms, where they say quiet pigs are happy pigs, and observers agree the hogs appear content.

Those pigs and Hank's cattle feed on corn and soybeans grown by family farmers, who also take their role seriously.

Bart Ruth farms between Shelby and Rising City. He said, "I think agriculture has a fantastic story to tell. I think technology we use today, record keeping we have, all those things would just amaze the average consumer if they'd get out and see it."

But the average consumer may not have that opportunity, so farmers band together through AFAN, the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska to share their story to industry leaders in media, health care, banking, and more.

"Have groups come visit so we can tell our story," Brock Pillen explained. "We go to schools, trying to tech younger generation where food comes from."

Through tours, they're able to explain practices like gestation crates that have been widely condemned.

The Pillens say it keeps hogs comfortable and healthy, but say they can only blame themselves for failing to explain practices they believe in.

Sarah Pillen said, "By and large have done a poor job of telling our story and bottom line is we wouldn't all be here today if we didn't care and do things the right way."

Groups like the soybean board fund AFAN, to tell Nebraskans how important a farmer or rancher like Hank is.

"When he's making that kind of money, he's going back in turn and spending dollars on main street for local town and that's huge to us," Klosterman said.

Hank provides space to keep cattle stress free, while Brock and Sarah maintain a biosecure area to keep pigs healthy.

And genetically modified crops allow the Ruths to use less water and chemicals.

In all cases, they're doing more with less, to feed the world they say.