15 Mar Ernie and Florene Goering Named Farm Family of 2020
(Article written by Cindy Baldwin)
The McPherson Chamber Ag Committee has selected the Ernie and Florene Goering family as the 2020 Farm Family. The Goerings’ farm is located between Galva, Moundridge and Elyria. They also have family ground near Garden City that was purchased by his great-grandfather, and which they still actively farm.
The Goerings produce wheat, corn, soybeans, and grain sorghum on their diversified farming operation in McPherson County. They have gradually transitioned from conventional tillage practices to a mix of predominantly no-till, minimum till, and strip till. Crop ground is managed conventionally for fertilization and chemical controls. The farm in western Kansas, however, has been certified organic for the last 15 years. The organic wheat grown on it is sold through a broker or directly to a mill for organic flour. Ernie said they really didn’t have to change any of their farming practices on the western Kansas farm to become certified organic as that is how they had been farming it for years, utilizing fallow/planting cycles to help with weed and pest control and to efficiently utilize moisture on the dryland farm. If he had to pick a favorite crop, Ernie said it would be wheat. Florene is fond of it, too, as she saves part of their organic wheat each year and grinds it for their own use.
Ernie is the third generation of the family to farm the ground in Lone Tree Township and the couples’ daughter Jenny and their son Matthew and his wife Chelsey are the fourth to be actively involved in the operation. The couple’s other two daughters, Cynthia and husband Caleb Quick, and Sherlynn and husband Anthony Livengood, also help out during harvest and other times if needed. They have six grandchildren. The Goering home place was named a Century Farm by Kansas Farm Bureau in 2003. Century Farms have been in a family for at least 100 years and continue to be owned/farmed by the family during that time. Ernie’s grandfather purchased the original farm in 1900. Ernie grew up helping with the farming, eventually joining his father – also named Ernest – when he left school. When asked how long he had been farming, Ernie said he’s been farming his whole life, but they have been farming as a couple since their marriage in 1980.
They are pleased that Matthew and Jenny have joined the operation. “We always hoped the kids would follow us, but never pushed them into it. It was their choice,” Florene said.
Florene grew up on a farm in the Whitewater community and trained as a nurse. She has been a full-time part of the farming operation since she and Ernie married. Many things have changed in that time and it hasn’t always been easy, but the couple wouldn’t change their choice to farm.
“There are lots of challenges (in farming), but the rewards are so much more,” Florene said. Ernie added that it takes patience, but it has been worth it.
The Goerings are active in Garden Community Church and both Matthew and Jenny are involved in Farm Bureau at the county and state level. Jenny has also been part of the KARL (agriculture leadership) program and commodity groups.
Congratulations to the Goering family.