The greatest lessons learned by farming in Texas.
This year we introduced the remarkable family behind 3B Farms, a large Texas farm and cattle operation based in Dalhart. Our Sandy Country series took a first-hand look at each of the family members behind the operation and provided a glimpse into their daily responsibilities and commitments to the family farm.
The first video of the series, A Texas Farmer’s Legacy, shared the heartwarming story of Lanny and Rita Bezner and the journey they’ve taken over the last 45 years while building their operation from one small parcel of land into today’s 16,000-acre operation. Lanny’s determination to ride the waves of farming in order to create a legacy for his children and future generations of farmers, is perhaps the greatest force behind their large-scale expansion—even when faced with obstacles such as weather or depressed grain prices.
Working Together to Build a Profitable Farm
As shared throughout the series, including Life of a Cattle Rancher, 3B Farm’s growth exploded after the Bezner’s children joined them on their Texas operation. Although not all of the children intended on coming back to the farm after pursing a formal education, their overwhelming passion for the land and family called them home.
Each member has been instrumental in diversifying and building out effective methods to support a farm with limited resources, including manual labor. The Bezner family’s commitment to innovative expansion through precision ag and the use of technology has helped them overcome difficult years and remain at the forefront of the agriculture industry.
As Mark Bezner told us, “we had to become more efficient in everything that we do to ensure good profitability. That means growing more bushels with less money, which is crop input. That’s the big name of the game, efficiency”.
Watch a preview of Technology in Ag
Adopting Precision Farming Technology
Over the last decade, there has been a major spike in high-tech farm equipment. Experts have forecasted that by the end of 2019, the use of precision ag will have doubled. The benefits of this technology are undeniable, as it allows operators to be more productive with fewer resources. Overtime farms that utilize this technology will become more profitable and efficient.
While the initial input costs may still be substantial, John Bezner’s advice is to select equipment based on the capacity to put it to use. Making a large investment upfront without the proper land will negatively affect the ROI of your equipment, therefore prioritize and plan around the needs of your operation.
The Impactful Role Women Have on Agriculture
In the video Farming with Family, Virginia and Alicia Bezner explain their roles as female operators and how they directly support other areas of the operation like the cattle division. Though most of their daily work demand comes from the business side of the operation, both women oversee the data coming in from the technology out in the fields and on-site facilities. With great accuracy, they are able to pull figures on production or stock at any given moment, which can then be used to guide activities across the farm.
Watch a preview of Farming with Family.
Family Farms Witness an Uptick in Female Operators
Women’s role in agriculture has hit an all-time high. Nearly 43 percent of the global agricultural workforce is occupied by women and in the U.S., 36 percent of producers are females according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Women are also gravitating towards more labor-intensive roles on the farm such as animal care, crop production, and equipment maintenance.
Furthermore, the number of female farmers and ranchers in leadership positions continues to rise. They are the largest segment behind sustainable ranching and community-supported agriculture operations. This trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down and as a result, there are several agricultural programs for women to help them start their own agribusinesses. These programs and farm grants for women include:
- American Agri-Women
- Farm Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program
- Future Farmers of America
Paving the Path for Farm Succession
“I believe family farms are important to agriculture in America because of the legacy and the tradition that we have carried on for years. If we went a different route, there could be a loss of sustainability. My family is here on our acreage trying to sustain our business and provide for our families for a number of generations.” -Mark Bezner
The underlying message throughout the Sandy Country series is the importance of family. As each member of the Bezner family expressed to us, 3B Farm’s success has been fueled by their desire to create a future for the next generation. With worldwide food demand growing to 70 percent by 2050, the next generation of farmers is critical to sustaining our world’s population. While the Bezners have found ways to overcome the challenges of having finite resources, the unpredictability of agriculture will require innovative farming and precision technology to maintain its pace with our growing food demand over the next 30 years.
As for the Bezner family, they remain committed to working the land they love and continue to look forward to the next generation that will carry on their family’s legacy of farming and ranching.