Donnie Hays farm in northeast Missouri is where his identity lies and where he makes his dreams come true. Hays is the sixth generation to farm the land on his family farm outside of Monroe City where he raises corn, soybeans, and pigs.
Like many Missouri farms, Hays’ operation is a family business. “Working with my dad is a blessing,” said Hays. He says that the best part of working with his father is the things that he teaches him. “He’s been doing it longer than I have.”
What Hays’ father did for him has inspired him to make the possibility of farming an option for his children. “I want to leave something for my kids. If my kids want to come back, I’ll make an opportunity for them just like my dad did for me.”
Coming back to the farm was a natural move for Hays. He says that farming is in his blood and it’s what he’s passionate about. His passion comes out in the way that he cares for his animals.
“One thing that I wish that consumers knew is that we genuinely care about our animals,” said Hays. “I go in and make sure that all my girls have food and water, and that they’re warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We make sure that none of them are sick. If they are sick, we treat them with what the veterinarian says that I should give them.”
Hays’ relationship with his father is not the only relationship that he says is incredibly important to his farm. His relationship with his veterinarian is extremely important as well. Hays’ says that he is the fourth generation on his farm to work with their veterinarian.
Hays recognizes that farming is a lot more than just taking care of animals. He emphasizes that farming has really evolved into a very technologically driven industry.
“It’s not just sows, cows, and plows,” said Hays. “It’s a lot more. It’s computer skills, it’s marketing skills. As a farmer, you wear a lot of different hats.”
Farming can be tough at times. “It’s a challenge. It’s a headache. But, at the end of the day, the reward is worth it.”
To Hays, the best part of farming is what it provides for everyone else. “Knowing that I fed someone, that’s the best feeling in the world.”