As the Trump administration has argued over trade deals and tariffs, one local family farm is finding a way to dodge the impacts.
Out on the Deppert’s farm in Tazewell County, in addition to traditional crops, you will find their cattle to be as equally important to making their farm a full-circle operation.
“We have a lot of diversification as opposed to simply just corn and soybeans. We have the wheat, rye, and specialty contract crops. We also have these cattle which is another benefit and another add to the diversification in the operation,” said Michael Deppert.
Wayne and his son Michael farm 1,500 acres of hay, pasture, and crop land on top of handling roughly twenty- five cows in their ‘calve- to- finish’ operation. Their farm is unique because it is self- sustaining.
“We grow our own feed for them. We grow hay and corn that is grown into feed. The cattle give us another source of income that is not so much tied to crop prices. It allows us to make money on a different end,” said Wayne Deppert.
They sell their meat right from home.
“We sell them as halves and quarters to friends and family and neighbors in the area. They like the locally sourced and know they come from our family operation,” said Michael.
With the U.S. implementing retaliatory trade tariffs the farmers that produce corn and soy beans are at the liberty of whatever the market is willing to pay them; the Depperts say this is why they are self sufficient.
“We grow the food for them on our farm.We feed the feed to them and that turns around and produces a manure product that we put back on our fields that we will use for fertilizer for growing the next crop. There is a symbiotic relationship between the livestock and crops,” said Wayne.
“The trade dispute has had an impact on the agriculture sector so we are just trying to adjust and that is where diversification is key,” said Michael.
Wayne has spent forty years on this farm and is blessed to have his son by his side to pass down traditions.
“There is a lot of pride involved in taking something that your father and grandfather has given to you and can pass onto the next generation,” said Wayne.