Ebelings named 2013 farm family

TRIMONT – Layne and Cory Ebeling are very busy men. Between loading hogs at all hours of the day to hauling grain, it took more than a week before the cousins could find time to discuss their most recent honor, being named the Martin County Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

The award goes to families that demonstrate commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

For the Ebelings, farming is in their blood.

Their grandfather, Ed Ebeling, started their farm in 1935, with a little bit of everything – a few chickens, a few pigs, maybe a cow.

“It was a typical farm in the day,” Cory said.

When Ed Ebeling turned over his farm to his two sons, Keith and John, the brothers continued running the operation as a partnership. John lived on the land his grandfather owned; Keith farmed just two miles away.

In the 1990s, Keith and John turned over management to Cory and Layne, who run it with their families.

Now the farm grows corn and soybeans, as well as hogs.

Cory and his wife Stacy, along with their two children Jacob, 15, and Katie, 12, still live on the farm. Layne and his wife Darnell, and their two sons Josiah, 19, and Logan, 14, live in Trimont.

All the children help on the farm.

“They just came in from walking the beans today,” Cory said. “There is always plenty to do.”

“Walking the beans, picking up rocks, loading pigs,” added Layne. “When they grow up on the farm, they do a lot. … There isn’t much we wouldn’t trust them with.”

Although the children have responsibilities on the farm, the cousins aren’t pushing any of the them to stay and continue the partnership set up by their grandfathers.

Cory said his dad and uncle are still active on the farm, but they have their pick of the chores.

“They decide what they want to do and we do the rest,” he said, adding his dad tends to like to haul grain, while Layne’s dad likes to get out in the fields in the spring and the fall.

Despite running the business their dads spent years tending, the cousins don’t get unsolicited advice from their fathers.

“We go to them for advice,” Cory laughed, “and they say, ‘It’s your problem now.'”

Kidding aside, Cory and Layne credit their fathers for their place in the industry.

“They were instrumental in getting our feet off the ground,” Cory said. “If it wasn’t for the good push they gave us we wouldn’t be farming.”

In addition to grain and pigs, the cousins have added another product to their farm since taking over operations: wind.

There are 13 wind turbines gently turning over the fields, generating electricity and income.

Cory was involved in organizing the local landowners, who approached the energy company and got the turbines spinning above their fields.

The cousins say the turbines aren’t any trouble, and although you can hear them when they are running, the sound becomes background noise after a while.

“I don’t even hear it,” Cory said.

Layne has even found them to be a useful farming tool.

“When we are spraying, we know which direction the wind is blowing,” he said.

Layne and Darnell’s family are involved in the Sherburn Assembly of God Church. Layne has served on the Martin County Pork Producer Board, Martin County Farm Bureau, MCW Booster Club, and Martin County Conservation Club.

Cory and Stacy’s family is active in Trinity Lutheran Church in Trimont. Cory has served on the Martin County Pork Producer Board and has worked on developing wind energy in Martin County.

The families will be honored at Farmfest in Redwood Falls this week.