Farm for Life Story: Blake Hurst
Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:11am admin
Farm for Life is an editorial series by the Missouri Department of Agriculture
On their Atchison County farm, Blake Hurst spends his time working alongside his family to keep a variety of crops on track. Hurst raises corn and soybeans alongside his family. His wife and daughter run the greenhouse side of Hurst Farms, growing bedding plants, hibiscus and mums for customers across the country.
As Missouri Farm Bureau President, Hurst has off-farm responsibilities that take his time and attention throughout the year, but their family makes it work.
"It's fun to work with your family because we have different talents and skill sets," said Hurst. "We're here to fill in, and when one of us is unable to be there, the other picks up the slack. There's always somebody still at home to make sure the farm keeps going."
He credits his wife for spearheading the greenhouse operation on their farm.
"My wife loves plants," said Hurst. "We started out with a little 8'x8' greenhouse and made a couple homemade ones. It just kind of grew over the years."
Adding the greenhouses to their farm has turned out to be a great diversification strategy for Hurst and his family. The ability to grow a diverse and wide variety of crops is one of the reasons Hurst believes in the strength of Missouri agriculture.
"It's the differences in agriculture across the state that I love," said Hurst. "We go from crop farming to some tremendous livestock production to the Mississippi delta. We have a great deal of diversification across our state. Everyone seems to work together pretty well and that's fairly unique."
As he travels across the state with Missouri Farm Bureau, Hurst has the opportunity to see that diversity first hand.
"You can see the diversification as you drive through the state," said Hurst. "People farm a little differently in central Missouri than they do in north Missouri, and even more differently in southeast Missouri. That diversity and wide spread of cultures has been fun to learn about."
The opportunities for future generations to return and get involved in agriculture are endless. As technological advancements continue to move forward in the industry, the demand for the next generation to come back to the farm is tremendous.
Looking to the future, Hurst is encouraged that there are future generations interested in coming back to the farm.
"I think about what the farm’s going to look like when I'm 85, and what it might look like when my grandson Josh, who's eight, turns 85," said Hurst. "So that really extends your horizon over most people's careers."