Each year, more than 20,000 Kansas wheat farmers take dramatic risks to grow the wheat that feeds the world. We hope you enjoy learning more about these farmers through our series, the "Faces of Harvest."
At an early age, Frank Strohl knew that farming was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. For the last two decades, he's farmed and raised cattle, treating the land with care in order to leave it better for the next generation.
"For me, it's all about being my own boss and knowing that whatever decisions I make - the work of the past year - is my payday," he explains.
Frank farms with his father, Mike; and brother, Keith, who works for Record Harvest during the day. They grow wheat and raise cattle; and Frank and Keith have started an alfalfa business. But wheat - and wheat harvest - is the heart of this fourth generation family farm.
"The best thing is that the whole family comes back and helps out to get harvest done. It means a lot that everyone comes back together," Frank says. "They've all been doing it long enough that everyone knows where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to do. It goes quick and smooth."
At any one time, 10 to 11 members of the family are helping bring in the harvest, including sisters Cheri and Vicki, and brother, Kevin. Frank's wife, Erin; Keith's wife Megan and the boys' Mom, Rita, all are instrumental in keeping things running smoothly. The fifth generation is getting engaged in the farm, too: Frank's kids Jaden and Zach are a big help; Kevin's son Devin, "loves to be in the middle of it all," Frank says. At age three, Keith's son Carson, is beginning to learn the ropes.
No doubt, the youngest members of the Strohl family are learning the same lessons that Mike Strohl passed on to his five kids. "Every decision you make has a ripple effect that affects something else," Frank says. "Nobody's going to do it for you. You work hard, do the best you can and stick with it."
Working so closely with family members is a tremendous reward that not many families get to enjoy, Frank says.
"To know that we've been on the same piece of property for so many years is a pretty great feeling," he explains. "We're still here, we're still farming, and we hope to pass it on to our kids."
From left, Mike, Jaden, Keith, Zach and Frank Strohl, from Cunningham in Kingman County.