Meet True Texas Grit
“Even though it can be stressful and a headache, I believe in being diverse in what we do on the farm. I won’t be hitting the big circuits like some people do, but I hope to do well on average.” , said Wieck.
The young farmer grew up pursuing the farming dream. Emotionally close to his grandfather, Ed, and his father, Randy, he yearned to follow in their footsteps. Even the 1967 Camaro he used to race dragsters on the local track was traded in for a tractor.
âThere are times when I would still like to own this car,â he admitted.
In 2001, he had the opportunity to rent a piece of land from a neighbor. At the time, he didn’t own any equipment, so the young man made a deal with his father to trade in his work for the use of machines.
A bespoke hay baling company helped provide additional income to fund its own equipment purchases. He slowly expanded his personal farm to include leased and owned land. The original father-son partnership still exists, and they still work the land together, but they also have separate businesses.
Together, the farm includes some 2,300 acres of wheat this year. To control mites, soil diseases, weed pressure and preserve moisture, wheat fields remain fallow after harvest. The farm is usually divided into a third of disposition (fallow), a third of summer harvest and a third of winter crop rotation.
âI run a few mother cows and cattle with wheat, weather permitting. I cultivate a few fields of irrigated corn and irrigated cotton. I also cultivate dryland cotton and wheat. Every now and then we grow sorghum and a haygrazer (sorghum-sudan grass), âhe said.
Located just south of Amarillo in Randall and Deaf Smith counties, Wieck has seen urban sprawl put pressure on farmland costs in recent years. But, even then, water remains the biggest challenge for agriculture in this region.
Access to irrigation water from the shrinking aquifers of Ogallala and Dockum / Santa Rosa comes with complicated user rights and requires judicious management of resources.
âThe elders say it was raining here,â said Wieck. âWe’ll have a 70% chance for days and the radar might even be green, but the next thing you know, it’s nothing. Here on the High Plains, the map has to be red for us to take it seriously.
HOME AND HEART
Although the farm has reached century status, the original farm is located in Bentler, Germany. When Louis Wieck left this country in 1906, he began farming in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska. The Nebraska owner sold this farm 14 years later, forcing the family to load their belongings onto a train bound for Texas to join other German immigrants and become active members of a new community.
While Wieck admits a certain fascination with Midwestern methods and means, his sense of place is firmly focused on this Texas spot. Having the faith that God will provide remains at the heart of his vision, he said.
âMy grandpa always said the Texas Panhandle could promise so much and give so little or couldn’t promise nothing and give you so much,â Wieck said.
Wieck’s blessings increased five years ago when he married Catherine (Cathy) Renee Higgins on the farm, where they now raise their daughters, Callie and Charleigh. Cathy works in Hereford, Texas for a financial advisor to Edward Jones.
âWatching the girls grow up and learn farming has been a good thing. There is so much that I thought everyone knew about farming, but after marrying Cathy, I learned that there is a lot of things that people don’t understand, âhe said. . A Facebook page, called Ryan and Cathy Wieck Farms, documents their journey.
This next week of May, the cotton plantation will probably be part of that story. The seed will be nestled in the stubble of fallow wheat. “Those first leaves of a cotton plant are so tender. The thatch protects them from strong winds,” Wieck explained.
The season for planting, harvesting and calving is one of her favorite farming activities. Spraying is hands down her least favorite job. âI spend a lot of time in the sprayer, but the tedious details and the worry of making sure it’s done right weighs me down,â he noted. New technologies using 2,4-D and dicamba make sprayer cleaning a difficult, but necessary, activity.
Still, there’s one thing – something Wieck admits not many people know about it – that makes all that taxi time a little more tolerable. âI’m a big singer in the tractor,â he said. “I nailed Dolly Parton’s song ‘Islands in the Stream’.”
Pamela Smith can be contacted at [email protected]
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