Down to Earth | TSLN.com

Down to Earth

Loretta Sorensen

Photo by Loretta SorensenFourth-generation farmer and cattle producer Curt Arens of Crofton, NE, has written many weekly columns for northeast Nebraska newspapers. He's also written a book, "Down to Earth," which contains his reflections about the spiritual side of his life as a farmer.

Fourth-generation farmer Curt Arens works the land his family settled on in 1914 along West Bow Creek at Crofton, NE, near the Nebraska-South Dakota border.

Arens is doing what many try but don’t succeed at living his dream, which includes raising a family on the family farmstead, running cattle and cultivating crops, and being faithful to his family’s farming tradition.

“My dad and I run a small crossbred cow-calf herd of 50 cows, which we are building with home-raised red and black Angus heifers,” Arens said. “Our focus, today, is on the cow herd. We used to have a farrow to finish hog operation. When the market fell apart in the early 1990’s, we got out of the hog business.”

The Arens farm encompasses 600 acres.

“We have about 450 tillable acres, of which 50 acres are in CRP,” Arens said. “The wet spring did slow us down some. But not as much as others around us. I feel pretty lucky. The crops are looking really good.”

Using 80 to 90 acres as pasture for the cattle, Arens is able to maintain a grazing system for his cattle through much of the growing season.

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“We compliment rotational pasture grazing by also grazing a wide array of different forages, including alfalfa, turnips, summer annuals and other legumes,” says Arens. “It is extra work, moving the cattle along with electric fencing. But I think it’s worth the effort.”

Arens started his herd with the first purebred Angus heifer he bought while in Future Farmers of America. He credits a local long-time Angus breeder and friend, John Leader, for helping him pick out an Angus calf that Leader then sold to him.

Fourth-generation farmer Curt Arens works the land his family settled on in 1914 along West Bow Creek at Crofton, NE, near the Nebraska-South Dakota border.

Arens is doing what many try but don’t succeed at living his dream, which includes raising a family on the family farmstead, running cattle and cultivating crops, and being faithful to his family’s farming tradition.

“My dad and I run a small crossbred cow-calf herd of 50 cows, which we are building with home-raised red and black Angus heifers,” Arens said. “Our focus, today, is on the cow herd. We used to have a farrow to finish hog operation. When the market fell apart in the early 1990’s, we got out of the hog business.”

The Arens farm encompasses 600 acres.

“We have about 450 tillable acres, of which 50 acres are in CRP,” Arens said. “The wet spring did slow us down some. But not as much as others around us. I feel pretty lucky. The crops are looking really good.”

Using 80 to 90 acres as pasture for the cattle, Arens is able to maintain a grazing system for his cattle through much of the growing season.

“We compliment rotational pasture grazing by also grazing a wide array of different forages, including alfalfa, turnips, summer annuals and other legumes,” says Arens. “It is extra work, moving the cattle along with electric fencing. But I think it’s worth the effort.”

Arens started his herd with the first purebred Angus heifer he bought while in Future Farmers of America. He credits a local long-time Angus breeder and friend, John Leader, for helping him pick out an Angus calf that Leader then sold to him.

Fourth-generation farmer Curt Arens works the land his family settled on in 1914 along West Bow Creek at Crofton, NE, near the Nebraska-South Dakota border.

Arens is doing what many try but don’t succeed at living his dream, which includes raising a family on the family farmstead, running cattle and cultivating crops, and being faithful to his family’s farming tradition.

“My dad and I run a small crossbred cow-calf herd of 50 cows, which we are building with home-raised red and black Angus heifers,” Arens said. “Our focus, today, is on the cow herd. We used to have a farrow to finish hog operation. When the market fell apart in the early 1990’s, we got out of the hog business.”

The Arens farm encompasses 600 acres.

“We have about 450 tillable acres, of which 50 acres are in CRP,” Arens said. “The wet spring did slow us down some. But not as much as others around us. I feel pretty lucky. The crops are looking really good.”

Using 80 to 90 acres as pasture for the cattle, Arens is able to maintain a grazing system for his cattle through much of the growing season.

“We compliment rotational pasture grazing by also grazing a wide array of different forages, including alfalfa, turnips, summer annuals and other legumes,” says Arens. “It is extra work, moving the cattle along with electric fencing. But I think it’s worth the effort.”

Arens started his herd with the first purebred Angus heifer he bought while in Future Farmers of America. He credits a local long-time Angus breeder and friend, John Leader, for helping him pick out an Angus calf that Leader then sold to him.