France Family

The France Family Farm is located northeast of Leoti in Wichita County Kansas. Join Jim Shroyer today as he introduces owner/operators Clint and Amy France as they share the story about their farming operation consisting of Angus cattle, wheat and grain sorghum. We’ll also meet their kids and see what life is like on the France Family Farm.(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer your host. And today we’re in luck because we’re in Wichita County, just little northeast of Leoti. We’re on the France Family Farm and we’re gonna be talking to Clint and Amy France here in just a bit about their farming operation of Angus cattle, wheat and grain sorghum. So folks, stay with us. We’ll be right back.

Closed Captioning brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer your host. And today we’re in luck because we’re in Wichita County a little northeast of Leoti. And we’re on the France Family Farm and we have Clint and Amy with us this morning. We have some youngsters as well. One’s running around here, off over that way. But Clint, Amy thanks for being with us. And Clint if you don’t mind, tell us a little bit about how you got started in the operation, a little bit about the operation in the family. So, take it away. (Clint) Well back in, oh when my Grandfather was a kid, he went to work for a guy a mile away, his name was Barnhart and the family all worked for him until they grew up and moved away. But my Dad always stayed. And my Grandfather, he passed away working for Barnhart and when Barnhart passed away, my Dad had bought this place here and he ended up letting part of that go just so we can keep this place here. And we farm to the north of here and to the east over around Scott City. We raise wheat, milo rotation. We run black Angus cows, calves and try to keep the kids as involved as we can you know. (Jim) OK, OK. Yeah, you got a bunch… as we drove in you had a bunch of cows I saw in the pasture there. And Amy you are a little busy too with these two young ladies here and Jerry over there somewhere. (Amy) Somewhere. (Jim) So, tell us how you kind of manage these youngsters. (Amy) Well, this year is our first year home schooling and we just decided to try that out and keep our kids closer to home and really at first hand experience of what farm life is and the work that you have to put into it to be successful. And so we try to get our work done first thing in the morning or as quickly as we can, so that we can enjoy some afternoon off. The kids will tell you I put ’em to work to clean and all that good stuff. (Jim) Oh, those are just vicious rumors, right? (Amy) Right. Just rumors. But we enjoy it. We do some projects outside. They do the chickens and the greenhouse and the garden and so we just keep ’em home. (Jim) Well yeah, I see the greenhouse over there that gets some activities during… tomatoes during the winter time and that sort of thing. That’s a good deal. And you’ve got chickens. Who gets to the eggs in the morning? You do. (Amy) They take turns. (Clint) Yeah, they take turns. (Jim) OK. So, a little bit more about the cattle operation. You’ve got a lot of Mama cows, Angus cows. (Clint) Yeah, we’ve got about 280 cows right now and with the drought we’ve cut back our numbers a little bit. But we’ll get ’em back up there. (Jim) It’s been pretty serious in the last few years out in this area and wheat yields have been inconsistent and I notice the pasture as well. Here comes another farm animal up to visit us as well here. So, Clint, Amy thanks for that little introduction here. And we’ve got to take a break here. So, stay with us. We’re gonna be talking to you some more. You folks at home, stay with us. We’ll be right back with That’s My Farm.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and we’re on the France Family Farm, here in Wichita County. And we just happened to have Clint with us. So Clint, tell us a little bit about your cattle operation. I know that’s a big part of the operation here, you’ve got a bunch of Angus cows as we can see back here in the back close to the homestead. So, tell us a little bit about the operation cattle wise, anyway. (Clint) We run all natural cows, if any of our calves, if we give them a shot for any reason, they get a tag and they get sold separately from our natural herd. (Jim) So, obviously with your natural herd, you try to market where? (Clint) Yes, yes we do. We try to market them usually around… Pratt’s a little bit better area to be for them. And anything with a shot you know, we just take ’em to the local sale barn. And we also market out of Oakley periodically. And we do artificial insemination to a lot of our cows. We always calve in the spring. Once in a while, we’ll buy a herd that might have some fall calvers, you know, some good cows. But we incorporate them back over into the spring so we can get ’em down on that green grass, you know, and we also buy some clean up bulls from back east and what have you and down in New Mexico. (Jim) So, you’re set up to breed artificially and then obviously the ones you miss, you bring bulls in obviously. (Clint) Yep. Nothing but the best of course, you know the black one. We feed up our calves up to around 800 pounds. We’ll either run ’em on drilled wheat if we have it or volunteer and then milo stalks. And get the grown up and we either take ’em to the feed lot that can finish ’em out or we will sell ’em. (Jim) OK, so you’re weaned about, somewhere 450- 500. With April, you calve in March-April. (Clint) Yes. Usually right at the first of April. (Jim) OK. Cause any earlier than that in this neck of the woods, it’s kind of chilly out here. (Clint) Yeah, still gets a little cool. (Jim) So, you’re weaning them at 450 weight and then what do you do with them? (Clint) When we wean ’em we’ll bring in here and we’ll get ’em all calmed down, make sure that they’re not… they’re all hot wire broke. And we try to keep ’em on fields that are close to home, so if there is a storm we can just bring ’em right in. We don’t have to worry about ’em being around traffic and what have you. (Jim) Right. (Clint) We always sort our… we’ll cut our steers, our bulls and then sort our heifers and steers apart and keep them in separate herds. And we usually keep quite a few of our heifers usually 80 to 100 head and we’ll breed ’em back from another blood line so that we can just keep our good herd going. (Jim) Sure. OK. Clint, thanks for telling us a little bit about that. We’ll get back to that in a second here. But stay with us. And folks you stay with us as well cause we’re gonna be right back with more of That’s my Farm. Thank you.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. With us we have Clint France and we’re here in Wichita County. So, we were talking about the beef operation a second ago. And let’s continue a little bit more about that. You’re talking about your natural ones that hadn’t received antibiotics. You sell them down in Pratt, that’s a good place for it. So, I’m hoping you get a little bit of a premium on that. And we’ve got great prices right now for cattle. (Clint) Yeah, they’re really shining right now. Hopefully it kind of counters for what we’re not making on our grain crops you know and what have you. But the good part is with our operation we have our own silage pile we put up and oat bales, wheat straw bales, milo stalks that we grind and corn stalk. And we can always take our corn grain or milo and we can run it through the mill and blend it to feed to our cattle in the pen if need be. And with the price like it is on corn it makes more sense for me to sell my corn to myself for $5 a bushel and give it to my cattle than $3.25 at the elevator. (Jim) Right, exactly. What about feeding? I mean you talked about your silage and what, how much feed are you running through these… in the cows during the winter time here. (Clint) Oh those girls, they can take on a lot of feed. We usually try not to get ’em butterball fat, we just get ’em to survive. We don’t want ’em to fatten up til spring, or towards the spring when they get ready to start having babies. And then we’ll go ahead and give ’em a little extra so they’ll have the strength to have those babies. (Jim) OK, so what are you feeding… you said you had silage? (Clint) Yeah. (Jim) So, how much silage are you going to be feeding on average per day? (Clint) You know it kind of depends on the weather. If it’s cold and if it looks like a cold snap coming on we’ll bump up their ration just a little bit so that they’ll hold themselves up real well. And we always try to keep them out on grass if we can. And they graze a little bit on that grass too. We had a pretty wet spring and the grass really finally started coming on again. (Jim) Right, right, after two or three, after two or three years of hardly any grass at all. (Clint) Yeah. (Jim) So, hay, what kind of hay do you feed? (Clint) We put up oat hay. We try to rotate that in behind some wheat every year. And really turns out well for us and they love that oat. They’ll eat that up. (Jim) OK. Oh yeah, what do you cut it? Just about heading time? (Clint) Yeah, yep. We’ll swap her down, put her in round bales, so they’re easy to handle. (Jim) OK. No alfalfa, no prairie hay? (Clint) Oh, not usually. No. (Jim) Well, good deal. What about grain? I mean, I was talking silage and forage, what about grain through the year? (Clint) We’ll grind a little milo or corn depending on kind of what’s priced where and what we’re looking for. There’s a little feed lot that will trade my whole corn for cracked wet corn or they’ll grind corn for me. We just kind of do a trade deal and work together on it. (Jim) That’s handy. (Clint) Yeah, and they get to feed my cattle for me too, whenever I’m done with ’em. (Jim) OK, OK. Well, that’s good. Well Clint, we’ve gotta take a word here from our sponsors and you folks at home, we’ll be right back. We’re gonna be talking about the cropping operation with Clint here in just a second. So, stay with us, we’ll be right back. Thank you.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer and we have Clint France with us here in Wichita County. And obviously, we’ve talked about the beef and obviously now we’re in the wheat field. And so, Clint tell us a little bit about your crop rotation and maybe a little bit how it fits into your cattle operation as well. But obviously we’re in the wheat field so how did you get to this wheat field, rotation wise? (Clint) We used to run wheat on wheat and summer fallow and then we just started putting milo in to stretch out the dollar a little more, you know. (Jim) So you are in a wheat, row crop, fallow. (Clint) Yeah, wheat, row crop, fallow and then back to wheat. (Jim) Back to wheat, OK. (Clint) And we put on a bushel wheat here and we’ll put a fence around it cause it’s connected to our pastures. And we have a windmill right there, we’ll be able graze the calves on this wheat and they’ll keep it down so it don’t get too big and lush. (Jim) In western Kansas, you know using… water’s pretty limited most years. And so, yeah, grazing will sure help out. So, when do you plant this? (Clint) We normally start around the 10th of September. (Jim) For wheat pasture? (Clint) Yes, we get our hoe down, we usually get our hoe in over here first and then we go to our other ground that’s not close to home. (Jim) And that will not be pasture? (Clint) Right, right. (Jim) So, that will be planted later, end of September, first of October in that range? (Clint) Yes. And where I’ve got three fields here, one is, we got our wheat, milo there, and on the other side of the milo is volunteer wheat. And in that rotation I always have my drilled wheat and I always have my stubble. And then I always have volunteer to come up and the calves really do well on that rotation. (Jim) OK. So, you plant a little early here, 60 pound seeding rate, a bushel per acre. Take us… what variety and let’s talk a little bit about fertility? (Clint) This is 304. (Jim) Ten 304. (Clint) Yep. And we put a little anhydrous on in the middle of the summer, really shot her right up out of the ground. We got our new air seeder and we like it but it tests us a lot. So, we’re learning, as fast as it already knows everything. (Jim) You had your test plot, you said you had your test plot. Tested your patience, huh? (Clint) Yes it did. (Jim) But you got it set right, eventually. (Clint) Yep, yep. (Jim) OK. Well we have grain sorghum behind us here. So, tell us a little about when you plant and what kind of fertility program you have there. (Clint) Yeah, we usually try to get everything planted in there about the 15th of May. And we go in, we’ll knock our weeds down in our stubble that’s standing from the year before and we’ll… this year I put Pioneer out there, and it has really done good this year. (Jim) So, it will be planted no till into your wheat stubble? (Clint) Yes sir. (Jim) So, what kind of nitrogen rates do you use there? (Clint) We put about 70 is what it is calling for. We use Crop Quest to come up and take samples for us and what have you. (Jim) So, you take soil tests, how often? (Clint) They do…. (Jim) When you go to the row crop? You take a soil test? (Clint) Yes, yep. (Jim) OK. Well let’s head back up to the house and we want to talk to Amy about how she handles those kids around the house. I’m kind of curious about that. So, stay with us. And folks, stay with us. We’re gonna be talking to Amy here in just a moment and how she’s handling the kids. Some of their chores. So, stay with us. We’ll be right back.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer and we’re on the France Family Farm in Wichita County, Kansas. We’ve been talking with Clint about the farming operation. But Amy I want to talk to you now about day-to-day activities here on the farm. And you’ve got a bunch of hired hands here behind us. (Amy) Yeah. (Jim) Bouncing. (Amy) That’s right. (Jim) Kind of keeping ’em in line there. So, tell me a little bit about how you got here. (Amy) Well, when I was younger we moved from Kansas City area over to
Leoti, just a few miles from here. And so I’m pretty much a city girl and didn’t know much about farming or cattle or anything. (Jim) Sure. (Amy) And so, it’s quite a venture. They would call me and ask me to bring things to the field and give me north, east, west. And I’d say, well when I get to the mail box do I turn left or do I turn right? (Jim) As a starting point, huh? (Amy) Yeah, yeah and I think they knew right off that it would be an adventure, first year. But it’s been a learning experience and just learning to pack the pantry because you can’t just run to town. (Jim) Sure. (Amy) Or run to the grocery store, always looking for substitutions. But it’s been fun, I couldn’t imagine living back in the city again, at all. The way the kids are brought up and they get to do their chores, when they don’t want to. And you know, learning responsibility and keeping their animals alive and well. (Jim) So, sorry to interrupt you there. But kind of take us through, in the morning, so you home school. (Amy) Yep. (Jim) And there’s a lot of good curriculum out there for home schooling now. (Amy) Yep. (Jim) So kind of take us, they get up and I know you probably are in the classroom in the morning. (Amy) Yeah, yep. We start out and have some breakfast, do a few chores in the morning. And we get right in about 8:30 or 9, just going through… (Jim) The school bell rings. (Amy) Yeah, yeah. Or Mom says, “Let’s go finally.” And usually Jerry goes with Clint so we can actually learn something that day. (Jim) A two year old is on the move, isn’t he? (Amy) Yeah, he is. And we usually start out with Bible and devotion and get that starts our day off right. And we’re usually done about 1:30 or 2, depending on interruptions. Sometimes we need to run and move people field to field and… (Jim) Take parts, so you know where all the fields are now. (Amy) Oh no. I don’t. I try. (Jim) You get in the general area. (Amy) Yeah. In fact one time I was taking meals to…when we were harvesting and I pulled up, I didn’t even have to call Clint, I was really excited, and I get there and I start getting everything unloaded…(Jim) Oh no, I already see what’s coming. (Amy) Yeah. And pretty soon they’re no coming, and they’re not coming. So, I called Clint and he said, “Ame, you’re at the wrong field.” So, I was going to deliver food to the wrong field. (Jim) Wrong harvest group, huh? (Amy) Yeah, somebody would have been hungry. (Jim) That’s funny. (Amy) But yeah, our day is great. There’s challenges just like everything. But for the most part, we really enjoy having the kids with us all the time and the way it works. (Jim) OK. So, you’ve got chickens, and you’ve got the greenhouse and we’ve got carrots from there too. (Amy) Yeah. (Jim) And bees, you have bees in back yard. (Amy) We have bees. A little bit of everything. (Jim) Well, Clint, Amy I really want to thank you for taking time out and I’m sure the kids appreciate being away from school this morning. That’s a good… I really appreciate, I really enjoyed hearing about your family and the family operation. So, thank you very much. And folks, thanks for staying with us on this session of That’s My Farm. And next Friday we’ll be back with another one, That’s My Farm. So, be with us. See you then.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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