Farming is a family thing. That's been the case for as long as seeds were put in dirt. This week, the Farm News Media crew visited Van Gilder Farms and took a unique ride, spending time in the cab with two generations of the 7,000 acre cash crop family farm operation in Livingston County.
Rick Van Gilder farms with his two sons, Lance, 30 and Ryan, 25 near Fowlerville, Mich. Rick credits the operation’s success to dedicated and reliable long-time employees and his family, starting with his soon to be 90 year old father. “He really doesn’t run machinery, but he’s still able to drive around and do some inspections if he wants,” jokes Rick, well-known for his positive attitude and contagious smile - all mixed with a great sense of humor.
Lance, who handles a significant part of the operation’s planting duties, gives viewers a sneak peak of the massive John Deere planter that is being used for the fourth year on Van Gilder Farms.
“We are planting with a John Deere DB120, 48 rows, 120’ wide with 30” rows and roughly covering 70 acres an hour,” Lance explains. “We also plant with two sixteen row John Deere planters, but those planters have individual hoppers and take longer to load. The 48 row planter we can load up to 200 acres of seed and we just go plant.”
Lance’s younger brother, Ryan also plays an active role on the farm and runs the family’sDekalb/Asgrow seed dealership. Check out the videos to get a glimpse of spring field work from one generation to the next.