MPW.71 / 2019 Future Farmers of America by Caroline Gutman
Caroline Gutman San Francisco, Calif.
Team Cliff & Vi

Recipient of the Team Cliff & Vi Award
Story Summary

Farming brings a family together. Barry Lutz, 44, carries the day-to-day duties and keeps everyone moving forward at the family’s 500-acre farm in Boonville. He drops the children at school before caring for elderly parents and repairing farm equipment. His days are long. He relies on faith, patience and unshakeable love for the land. “I have big shoulders and carry a lot on them, but I don’t really complain about it. I love what I do.”

As American family farms close or consolidate, Vollmer Farm survives. Barry hopes his children will continue the tradition.

Barry, grandson of farmers, grew up in the town of Boonville. Hired and taught to farm by his father-in-law, Barry is now a committed farmer. “It’s in my blood. I got into the farm and loved the change. I felt really at home.”

Barry’s wife Amanda teaches high school math in nearby Columbia. Like so many family farms, they rely on her steady income to survive.

“It’s been hard, but we have our family and our faith. We just take it one day at a time,” says Amanda.