By Emily Hanlin

SUBMITTED PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Andrea Hazzard checking on her heritage crop of grains.

Ag Communications, Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau

Andrea Hazzard’s family arrived here, in Northern Illinois, in 1847. The family farm has changed a lot since then. Hazzard remembers the farm as much more diverse when she was a kid. From dairy and beef cattle to hay and row crops, Hazzard’s family stayed very busy.

“Things have changed a lot,” said Hazzard. “The pressures in agriculture have resulted in the same prices today that they had in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.”

Hazzard experienced these difficulties and if she wanted to stay on the farm, she had to come up with her own solution to stay profitable. She went off on her own and started vegetable farming and facilitated a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA).

When a generational transition occurred in the main operation, Hazzard’s father then had the time to join her and together they started producing grain. They began with wheat their first year in 2012, and since have added oats, corn, and barley. By 2015, her grain production had grown so much that she decided to specialize and back away from vegetables.

“Hazzard Free Farm” is now a one-woman operation. Therefore, she has the opportunity to experiment and make changes as she pleases. For example, she plans to better her farming practices and investigate with no-till farming in the future. Hazzard produces 20 acres of grain, many varieties of each. Many of the crops she grows have a limited availability of seed. Therefore, she grows and saves her own seed as well. This operation strategy takes…

For complete article, pick up the March 21 Belvidere Daily Republican.

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