Would you, at 40, pick up and move your family across an ocean to farm? That’s what Gunter Jochum’s parents did in 1980, moving from Germany to Manitoba, Canada.
Gunter and his family are still farming today, after plenty of change and challenges on the farm. Tune in to this LIVE! Q&A to hear Gunter’s family story, what the farm looks like now, and how regulation plays a role in the success or failure of the farm.
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- Manitoba farmer and president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers
- 1980 parents came over from Germany
- Expanded from just a few hundred acres to several thousand
- Started with a quarter-section with a hog farm with his brother
- Mid-80s was a tough time in agriculture, and eventually diversified
- Started Christmas trees (that’s since been abandoned)
- 1997 exited hogs
- 2011 quit the strawberries (Mother Nature decided for them)
- Gunter knew he was always going to farm.
- Why the move to Canada from Germany? Got pushed out, really. But the decision had been made prior, because the kids wanted to farm, and couldn’t do that in Germany.
- But why Canada? U.S. was too much like Germany. Too many people, too many regulations.
- Gunter’s father visited in late May and nothing planted, and came back in September and the combines were rolling. So if you can grow a crop in 90 days on stone-free land, he was in. So courageous. His dad was 42 at the time. Wow.
- Did think about Argentina, too, but too corrupt
- Came from Bavaria, the “Quebec of Germany”
- Four daughters on the farm. Gunter has never encouraged or dissuaded the kids from farming. Fiona is farming with them now.
- Biggest challenge on the farm right now? My farm or Canadian farms: that we might lose the ability to make decisions on our own, more regulation and oversight (outside of the farm/food production)
- Want to talk sustainability? The Jochum’s are living proof. Moving away from having to work off-farm jobs farm just to make ends meet. Now, they farm over 3,000 acres now.
- The over-regulation is Germany pushed farmers out. Now, they are trying to regulate them back, but with significant rules and demands
- Optimistic for 2021? Yes!
- How do you make decisions? Collectively, yes. Involves the hired help, too. Brother-in-law and Gunter. Plus Fiona (daughter) and their hired hand.
- Fiona has been on the drill, on a combine, and in the truck, and doing the book keeping. Making budgets. She needs to be fully immersed so she learns the full ins and outs of the business.
- Two nieces involved in the farm, too.
- Communication is key in decision making.
- He doesn’t want to be doing the big decision making at 65 or so. A retirement plan is a plan to enjoy the good parts of farming.
- Older equipment vs. newer? Will a new seeder really pay its way? Probably not. And we know the older one. It seems the newer equipment has more bugs