Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers: Kevin and Vera Schultz, Sandhill Farms
Rural Haviland farmers Kevin and Vera Schultz, owners of Sandhill Farms, were named 2020 Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers by K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer Magazine. Last year's in-person award ceremony did not happen because of COVID-19, but they will get that award this year in September. The two groups work to recognize farmers for their leadership in agriculture, environmental stewardship, and service to their communities, according to an email published by K-State Research and Extension. This is the 94th year for the statewide award.
"We are honored to be among a high achieving group of people that respect the value of community, God and country," said Kevin Schultz. "We are looking forward to getting to know others of our same interest to work together to build a better world for the next generation."
Kevin and Vera manage a sixth generation farm and ranch in south-central Kansas. On the farm side of the operation, the focus is mostly dryland and irrigated corn, soybeans, and wheat. Sandhill Farms makes up the cattle portion of the business. The Schultz's work hard to produce profitable genetics in their registered and commercial polled Hereford cattle. On top of that, they work to educate other ranchers through their ranch.
"We host an auction in the spring selling bulls throughout the United States and into Canada," said Vera. "We also host a producer's meeting annually to educate rancher's on relevant topics. Our time is split evenly between farming and ranching."
Kevin and Vera are the 6th generation to run the operation and their son Tyler and his wife Hannah are starting the 7th generation. Family is very important on Sandhill Farms.
"I feel one of our greatest accomplishments is raising three children with the same passion for agriculture and faith in God that we have," said Vera. "Working with four generations on our family farm is both challenging and rewarding daily. It is also the greatest blessing God has given us."
They also have five grandchildren, with one on the way, who are learning work ethic, teamwork, and a love for the simple things on the farm, according to Vera.
In addition to managing this long standing operation, Kevin and Vera have worked diligently in their communities. They are both heavily involved in the Trousdale United Methodist Church, where Kevin serves as the Chairman of the board. Other organizations they have faithfully given their time to include the Sunflower 4-H Club, Edwards County Extension Council, and Macksville School board. Kevin has served on local, state, and national agriculture related boards including the Kansas Livestock Association, Beef Improvement Federation, and as president of the American Hereford Association board. Very has been a been a 4-H leader and has been on the church board while serving over 30 years as a teacher in Sunday School, Bible School, and the local public school. She enjoys gardening, canning, sewing, and spending all the time she possible can with her grandchildren. She does her fair share on the farm checking pastures, going to the field, and managing the website.
"It is a privilege to live in a farming community where we support on another. I know we can call a neighbor if we need a helping hand, a cup of sugar, or have asparagus to give away," said Vera. "We also get to meet and share ideas with some of the greatest people on earth being in the cattle industry."
The Schultz's, along with the other five families recognized as Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers, will be honored at the Kansas State Fair at an awards banquet on Tuesday, September 14. There is a reception at 3:30 p.m. in the 4-H Encampment Building.
To keep up with Sandhill Farms, check out their website at sandhillfarms.com or their Facebook page, Sandhill Farms.