By Neil Melançon, Louisiana Farm Bureau News
NEW ORLEANS — Usually for Jacob and Kari Rumbaugh, each morning begins with a long list of daily chores on their farm in Dixie, La.
This morning, however, they’re waking up in New Orleans as the 2018 winners of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award. Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson presented the Rumbaughs with the award Thursday night at the Louisiana Farm Bureau’s Organizational Awards during its annual meeting.
The Rumbaughs were chosen from a highly competitive field for their dedication to farming, family and Farm Bureau activities that exemplify Louisiana’s farming community. Not only do they manage 1,300 acres of wheat, soybeans, corn and cattle pastures, but they ride herd on two young children as well, Ada and Reid.
Having their children with them on the farm is an integral part of their success, both as farmers and parents, Jacob said.
“Growing up we hoed cotton,” he said. “You get see the value of a dollar, you get to see the value of hard work. It really sets you up well for any type of life. So with the kids, its the same way. They can see how hard we work.”
Jacob may have grown up around farming, but went to college and became a civil engineer. He left a successful engineering partnership and transitioned to full-time farming in 2013. Kari is also a college graduate and puts her business degree to work on the farm every day, especially when it comes to their herd of 320 cattle.
“Checking water, checking fences, checking for sick calves,” she said, listing off some of those daily chores involved with raising beef cattle. “I started keeping an electronic record of all of our calving.”
The Rumbaughs got into farming in 2008 when Jacob’s parents liquidated their cattle herd to help them start with what Jacob describes as a “clean slate.” Jacob’s father, George, said not only has his son and daughter-in-law returned this investment, but their skills in engineering and business have helped the farm thrive.
“Its pretty nice to have somebody that knows tech,” George Rumbaugh said. “When there’s a problem, I say, ‘Jacob!’ so that works real well. Now, we have the software and Jacob writes all the programs himself.”
The Achievement Award recognizes not only the couple’s farm prowess, but service to the community at large. Kari said it’s reflected in the way her kids see how important agriculture is in the world.
“We actually sold some of our corn to Tyson, and the other day, my daughter and I were in Sam’s and she saw a big bag of Tyson chicken in the freezer and she got it out and she said, ‘Mom look, its Tyson chicken!” Kari said. “‘These chickens ate some of our corn.’ So that was really cool for me to know that she knew that and that she was proud that she had a part in that.”
“There’s value in what we do,” Jacob added. “We’re feeding the world. There’s two percent of us out there now in the United States that feeds the rest of the country, and to me there’s a lot of value. Its just a sense of pride, a sense of hard work. You know, pride in what your doing.”
It may not be last time the Rumbaughs wake up in New Orleans as winners. As part of their prize package, the Rumbaughs receive $35,000 in cash from the Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company. In addition, they’ll come back to New Orleans in January of 2019 to compete for the American Farm Bureau YF&R Achievement Award. More information on both Farm Bureau and the YF&R program can be found at https://lafarmbureau.org/lfbyfr/.