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Tossed Out

My Farm Roots: Family on the family farm

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Brandon Fahrmeier and his brother Bret Fahrmeier farm in Lexington, Mo., on land that has been in their family since the 1940s. (Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media)

This is the ninth installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Brandon Fahrmeier had a nice job as a sales rep in Ohio for a large company. He and his wife had a nice suburban home. Then they had kids.  

The Fahrmeiers wanted their two daughters to grow up as they had, so a decade ago they packed up and moved back to the family farm in Lexington, Mo. Fahrmeier Family Farms and Fahrmeier Family Vineyards, which features vegetables and a new winery, includes multiple generations and Brandon’s brother’s family. It’s a family affair, and that’s exactly what Brandon wanted.

“With kids, you look at your roots and look at your values,” Fahrmeier said. “We decided that we needed to raise our kids near our parents and grandparents –kind of like we were raised before — so that we were able to instill the values we grew up with in our kids as they grew up.”

I originally met Brandon Fahrmeier back in May when he was a guest on KCUR’s Central Standard. On the show, he talked about how he worked to rejuvenate his family’s farm and how they’d worked to offer guests an experience, not just food. But I wanted to know why. Why uproot a happy family? Why quit a good job?

For Fahrmeier, coming back to the farm was about coming together as a family.

“Farming is a hard lifestyle and you’ve got to love it,” Fahrmeier said. “It’s not going to be something you’re going to get rich doing but it’s going to be some place that you can raise a family, make a decent living and share that with your kids.”

Working a more regular job with regular hours had its perks, Fahrmeier said. But now he feels he has opened a whole new outdoor world to his daughters. And rather than merely teaching his kids, he says he’s modeling a life of hard work, responsibility and devotion to family.

The Fahrmeiers chose to move back to the farm, but the lifestyle isn’t for everyone. His daughters, Brandon says, will be free to do as they please.

“If that’s something they choose, then great, I’d love to have them come back,” Fahrmeier said. “If that’s something that they don’t choose, I hope that they are one of the people that appreciate farm life and appreciate what we did and gave up for them. But it’s their choice in life.”

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