Welcome To Our Blog
Hello. Thank you for taking the time to check out our Website and our blog. I'd like to introduce myself and my husband. My name is Tara and my husband is Karl. Our story began about nine years ago. We met at church through a singles small group. Full disclosure – I was leading the group, but not to find a husband, but because that's what God called me to do at the time. We started hanging out together outside of group, spent time talking on the phone when we couldn't be together (we lived 30 minutes apart) and grew closer. We discovered that we both love God, love family and friends and have similar values such as loyalty and working hard. So, naturally we fell in love. We had a short engagement and have been married for eight years!
I have a bachelor's degree in marketing. In addition to any farm-related work I can help with, I work full-time off the farm. I work at a marketing firm (M45 Marketing Services) in Freeport, IL and am so blessed to have such awesome bosses and colleagues to work with every day. In addition, I work part-time with my mom at her photography studio (Hillside Studio) also in Freeport, IL. This has been a family business since the 1980's when my grandmother started the studio in Marengo, IL. Her specialty was animals so you can say that my love of animals was instilled in me at an early age. My mother bought the studio in the early 2000's. Her specialty is high school seniors, families and children. We also photograph weddings and I am a second photographer at weddings. So, obviously I have a love for photography too! Things that I love are: God, my husband, family and friends, photography (everything on our Website was photographed by me on our farm), Starbucks (really glad we don't live anywhere near a Starbucks because I'd be there all the time), good, simple food that is minimally processed (like our beef and veggies from our garden) and cooking.
My husband, Karl, is a full-time farmer. He doesn't farm as a hobby, he farms for a living. In addition to raising Hereford beef cattle he grain farms. What that means is he also farms corn and soybeans. The corn that he farms gets planted, harvested and ground into feed for our cattle by him. It never leaves the farm. He is a third generation farmer and we live on the same farm he grew up on. HIs parents still farm, just a mile down the road. How blessed we are that they are able to help us whenever we need help or advice. They've seen a thing or two in regards to farming and cattle. My husband has a passion for farming – it's either in your blood or it's not. Because you sure wouldn't farm for the money, that's for sure. And not all farmers are cattleman. It takes a special kind. Someone who is willing to work long hard hours. Oftentimes we don't even eat dinner until 9 o'clock. Then it's to bed and up the next morning to look after cattle all over again. Cattle need to be fed, they need to be watered, they need to be checked to make sure they're ok, safe and healthy. They need access to pasture which means putting up fences and then checking fences. Or, they need access to hay in the winter. So he has to run the tractor, check the hay to ensure it's not moldy or undesirable and check the bale feeder to make sure it doesn't need welding. You get the drift. There's a lot to do every day when you have cattle, or any kind of livestock for that matter. You don't get to sleep in and you don't get to bed early. Extra curricular activities are set around chore time - or if it's raining. (Anyone that's a farmer, a farmer's wife, or a farmer's kid will get that one.)
And not all farmers are cattleman. It takes a special kind. Someone who is willing to work long hard hours.
A couple friends encouraged me to write a blog to document all the stories I tell them about what goes on around here. Some are pretty crazy, some are really close calls and some are just pure moments of seeing God. My hope in this blog is that I will get a chance to share some of those crazy stories about what real life is like on the farm. I also hope that I will share some education about the food industry, especially in the beef market. I have a real passion for the farm-to-table movement. And some of the blog posts will be frequently asked questions that we have received. Topics such as how to buy a side of beef, how we raise our beef and our farming philosophy such as why we believe happy animals just taste better.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read our blog. If you have any blog suggestions or questions please contact us! We'd love to hear from you.
Karl & Tara Hagemann