Why I work in agriculture
Riley and Morgan Hammel and their daughters Chloe and Greta (in Morgan’s arms) are building their own family farming legacy in southern Minnesota, fueled by their shared love of agriculture and lessons learned from Riley’s grandfather.
Minnesota farmer-owner Riley Hammel spoke for his family and other young farmers and ranchers in a moment of reflection at the 2021 CHS Annual Meeting in December.
“I have been asked why I work in agriculture. It’s the reward of the hard work and the feeling of accomplishment. It’s knowing you are doing something of value, something to pass on that will continue for years to come.
“These last few years have been tough, but we live for the planning, the planting, the watching and the harvesting. That feeling of satisfaction will never get old.
“My earliest memories of farming involve my grandpa. I biked seven miles from home to his farm so I could help him fix equipment, pick rock, drive tractor or simply learn from him.
“The farm is where I learned responsibility and integrity, something I believe many other jobs do not teach. After high school, I tried other jobs, including plumbing and carpentry, but nothing felt quite right. So, starting small, I began managing my grandpa’s farm while launching my own trucking company.
“Now I farm 800 acres and was recently able to buy my grandpa’s farm with my wife, Morgan. Unfortunately, my grandpa passed away last fall and was unable to see my dream of officially owning and operating the family farm come true.
“Grandpa and I farmed together side by side. The first harvest without him was tough, but I could hear his voice in my head, reminding me of things he taught me through the years — the things that made me fall in love with agriculture and made me into who I am today.
“The relationships I’ve built in agriculture are important to me, from the guy I buy fertilizer from to the landlords who trust me with their property. Every relationship is unique and helps me build a better operation.
“2021 was an extra special year for our family. My wife drove the grain cart with our oldest daughter, who is 8 and constantly asking questions, while I hauled around our 17-month-old. Her new favorite word is ‘combine.’
“Morgan and I can’t wait to pass the passion we feel for agriculture to our two daughters, as my grandpa did to me. In many ways, I think agriculture chose me. This is exactly where I want to be.”
Check out the full Winter 2022 issue of C magazine with this article and more.