Kevin Horneman and his wife, Nancy, have been organic farming for decades — since 2009, to be exact.
“I enjoy doing it because I sort of think of it as being like a sort of a food activist. It’s not overly practical for us, but to some extent, I really like to strive to see that it can still be done,” said Kevin.
From Pennsylvania to Hawaii, the family has traveled all over pursuing their passion.
So, what brought them to North Dakota?
“I sort of like seeing 30,000 feet of clouds moving in off the horizon. I like the long days in the summertime. It’s definitely the open space and the clean air. It’s a big draw for me,” said Kevin.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are only 100 certified organic farms in the state.
The Horneman’s farm sits near the McClusky Canal, close to New Johns Lake.
“We brought all of our experience and knowledge and trials and tribulations and everything and brought it here. It’s nice to grow things. It’s nice to play in the dirt. That’s always fun,” said Nancy.
The Horneman’s sell their produce exclusively to the BisMan Community Food Co-op, though Nancy says it’s not about the money.
“I don’t enjoy the flies and the mosquitos and whatnot, but I do enjoy it. And, I mean, if we can sell a good bit to the co-op, all the better,” said Nancy.
And produce isn’t the only thing they’ve grown over the years. The couple has raised three children and four grandchildren. They all have spent time helping with the farm.
“I think it gives them a sense of accomplishment to watch a seed grow into an edible plant, a plant you can pick and eat. North Dakota’s been good to us. You know, I have employment, and I love my job. And we have the grandkids, and sons-in-law and everyone enjoys coming up, having a picnic at the farm, riding their dirt bikes. It’s good,” said Nancy.
The organic farm is part of 180 acres of land the family owns.
In addition to the farm, they also have a hayfield and orchard.
The Horneman’s says they have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the estate, and, in the future, they would like to bring someone in to help them manage it.