Spring begins this week, but Larry Zobel has already started thinking about the additional work that comes this time of year, on top of caring for the 1,200 head of cattle and 6,500 hogs that Zobel Farms might be feeding at any one time on the farmstead located between West Point and Bancroft.
His late grandfather, Martin Zobel, started farming back in the 1920s. When he wasn’t busy with sports or other school activities at Bancroft-Rosalie Community Schools, Larry helped his father, Bob, feed the livestock and plant the crops.
Larry attended Doane College, but returned to start farming full-time with his father in 1989. Twenty-three years later, he’s as busy and content as ever with his decision to raise livestock – and a family – in rural Nebraska.
Zobel’s efforts to care for his livestock and the land this year earned him one of the Nebraska State Environmental Stewardship awards presented by the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA). The other winner was Danny Kluthe from rural Dodge.
“These two award winners displayed real world examples of pork producers who are dedicated to ensuring the We Care Ethical Principles that they practice to help protect the land and people,” said Shane Meyer, NPPA president.
Applications were evaluated on how well the operation manages their manure/nutrient systems, soil or water resources, air quality, wildlife habitat promotion, neighbor relations and any innovative ideas used to protect the environment.
Farm raises hogs, cattle
Zobel Farms finishes between 12,000 and 15,000 hogs a year in its modern wean-to-finish confinement units. The hogs he raises are farrowed at West Blue Farms, near Waco, Neb. He is part owner of that facility.
Zobel Farms also raises more than 2,500 head of cattle each year, and grows a good deal of the grain that feeds all that livestock. The crop mix is diversified, including corn, soybeans and alfalfa.
Zobel said that being a good steward of the resources helps him grow more crops and raise more pork with less inputs.
For the full story, pick up the March 20 West Point News, or call 372-2461 to subscribe.