MPW.71 / 2019 Birdie and Buster: For the Love of the Land by Sarah Jane Holden
Photographer
Sarah Jane Holden Annapolis, Md.
Team Eppridge

Story Summary

"Farming is something that has to be in your blood. If you don't love it, you won't make it," says Raymond “Buster” Kueckelhan, an 87-year-old Boonville area farmer.

With 200 cattle and 1200 acres of beans and corn spread across six farms, Buster and Roberta “Birdie” Kueckelhan, 80, have farmed Missouri soil together for more than 60 years.

Despite health problems and challenging economic times, Birdie and Buster are determined to keep their family-run farm going. They plan to someday pass down the farms to their three children and six grandchildren, who have been imbued with a love of the land. All three children and six grandchildren actively farm or have ties to agriculture in Boonville and the surrounding areas.

The never-ending daily chores keep them working from dawn until well past dusk each day, but for Birdie and Buster, it’s just a way of life.