This Ag Month, Discover Fairmont’s Strong Farming Community and High Standard of Living

This Ag Month, Discover Fairmont’s Strong Farming Community and High Standard of Living Main Photo

12 Mar 2024

Pork farmers in Fairmont, Minnesota work through their birthdays, during the holidays, and on weekends. They even push through when they are sick. Caring for their livestock is their top priority, both to protect their livelihoods and to support the animals who rely on them to survive. Fairmont farmers care deeply about the work they do, whether they are harvesting corn or soybeans that may be used for livestock feed or keeping up-to-date with new hog technologies to manage their health.

March 19 is National Agriculture Day and a great time to reflect on the importance of farming in the local community. Wanda Patsche, the blogger behind Minnesota Farm Living and a Fairmont farmer of more than 45 years, recently shared what makes this industry so wonderful and why Martin County is a great place to own a farm. 

Technology Has Improved Farming, But Ag Workers Are Needed

Patsche has seen a lot change in farming over the past 45 years. Farms have become larger,  and more efficient.

“When we first started farming, it would take a complete week to harvest one 150-acre farm,” says Patsche. “Now we can do it in a day and a half.”

Modern technology allows work to be done faster, but there is still a vast need for people in the farming industry. Patsche stresses that everyone you talk to in Fairmont is looking for reliable workers to support their farms.

“Our farming community is looking for people with a good attitude who are willing to learn,” says Patsche. She of all people understands what it’s like starting from nothing in the farming world. Patsche didn’t grow up on a farm and never participated in 4-H, FFA, or any agriculture-centric programs offered by Fairmont Area Schools. She learned about farm life when she married her husband. Patsche stresses that if you want to learn about farming, there are people who want to work with you.

“In the Fairmont area, I believe we give really good wages and a lot of jobs have benefits,” says Patsche. “Whether you are working on a farm or working with a company that has to do with agriculture, it’s a good standard of living.” 

The Entire Fairmont Community Benefits From Farming

As you learn about the farming process, you will discover that a farmer cannot operate on their own. Raising pigs and growing crops is a community effort that requires suppliers, processors, and other partners. In turn, supporting the farmer helps the local economy grow.

Patsche explains that she works with a farm to buy piglets to raise. They feed the corn they raise and sell the soybeans to CHS Oilseed Processing in Fairmont. Her farm buys back soybean meal from CHS to feed their pigs. Excess corn is sold to the Valero ethanol plant in Lakota. When the time comes, her farm works with local truckers to load up her farm’s pigs so they can be taken to slaughter. Throughout the year, she works with nearby vendors to get farm supplies and equipment to keep her business running.

“Fairmont has a strong agricultural industry where everyone has a role to play,” says Ned Koppen, Coordinator of the Fairmont Economic Development Authority. “Even people who don’t work on farms directly operate businesses that support the farming community. We always welcome new companies who can help our farmers.” 

More People Could Benefit from a Connection to Agriculture

When Patsche isn’t tending the crops or managing pigs with her husband, she maintains an active blog to discuss farm life. Fewer than 1% of the population works in farming and it’s easy for people in other parts of the world to disconnect from where their food comes from. Patsche provides a welcoming, honest perspective of farm life to help people better understand the opportunities and challenges of this industry.

“This is really what drives me in addition to clearing up any consumer misconceptions about how their food is grown,” says Patsche. “It’s important to have connections with people outside of agriculture because otherwise, they could make laws and regulations without knowing how they affect us on the farm.”

One organization that Patsche participates in is From the Ground Up, an annual event that brings legislators, community leaders, medical professionals, and educators to local farms to learn how they work. The invitation-only event creates a space for non-farmers to ask questions and learn about farm life. Last year, attendees even enjoyed lunch in a cornfield, complete with sweet corn ice cream provided by The University of Minnesota.

“I’ve always been very enthusiastic about agriculture,” says Patsche. “I never grew up with it, but I learned to really appreciate it.”

Fairmont is a Great Place for Farmers and Agriculture Businesses  

Fairmont has a thriving farming community that is filled with people like Patsche. It has farmers who support Agriculture in the Classroom and speak out about agriculture issues and trends that concern them. When you move your business to Fairmont and Martin County, you will meet people who care deeply about what they do.

Learn more about life in Fairmont and the workforce that makes up this community. Get to know some of the other industries in the area that are tied to agriculture or support it tangentially.