HeartBeat Fall 2017 - Page 6

get to know : Ben and Jenny Bradley Photo by Joann Pipkin Ben and Jenny Bradley, along with their 4-year- old son Pete, operate a small family farm in Knox County in northeast Missouri. Together with Ben’s family, the operation includes about 900 acres of row crops and a beef cow-calf operation. Jenny also raises sheep with her family, who live near Novelty. A former ag education teacher, today Ben also is a volunteer firefighter and chairman of the Novelty-Plevna Volunteer Fire Department. Jenny works as the adult ag education instructor for the North Shelby school district where she assists farmers with a variety of records management and transition plans and manages the Young Farmers program. The Bradleys have worked with FCS Financial on real estate, operating and home loans since 2007. “A lot of (establishing a farm) is just simply opportunity,” Ben said. “It would be very difficult for someone who didn’t already have their foot in the door to come back to agriculture. Attending the (Washington, D.C., fly-in) was a rare opportunity to move our voice. “We can jump up and down all we want, but this provided us an opportunity to be heard.” 6 HEARTBEAT | FALL 2017 the aspects of the farm bill that affect us personally,” Danny explained. Both the Bradleys and Kiehls took part in FCS Financial’s Connect program for young and beginning farmers. Connect helps participants realize their full potential to find success through networking and communication activities as well as cooperative representation. They were selected for the Washington, D.C., fly-in partly because of their involvement with the program. “The more you talk to (legislators), the more you find out that they really aren’t aware of what rural Missouri — or any other state — is like,” Danny said. “So, it’s kind of interesting to see their perspective.” Jenny Bradley added, “If we aren’t proactive and keep a lot of communication open, (rural Missouri is) not very many votes when it comes right down to it. We’re already so far behind when it comes to technology, road improvements. issues and impact While crop insurance continues to be criticized, Missouri farmers know its value as a safety net. The Washington, D.C., fly-in gave the Kiehls and Bradleys an opportunity to set the record straight. “We need to be able to speak our reasoning for why we need crop insurance and why we need that safety net to be able to farm the way we do,” Danny explained. “I think that (the legislators) truly appreciated hearing from producers, especially young producers and knowing that FW&R2gWGW&Rw&7VGW&RFW&R&RVBvVvvBFv&w&7VGW&R'WBFW6RFw2fRF&R6Rf"W0F&R&RF( FFVBࠒ2FV6w6VW2G2vFf&'W6W76W266W72F'&F&BFW&WB&V6W27&V6vǐ'FBFRV2FWVBBFFF'VW&w&2f"FRf֖Ǟ( 2w&W&FFW66&VBvFVv6F'2FRvR6VvRvV'&F&BFW&WBv6( B66W76&RvRf6FpF( 2f֖ǒvƗfW2V"'6ࠒ( Ėb^( &RvFrFfRVrVBvV