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Hearts drawn back to farming

Posted on September 9, 2014 at 11:05 AM by Iowa Corn

Courtesy Jeff DeYoung, Iowa Farmer Today
Brianne and Grant Streck returned to Iowa several years ago and farm with Brianne's parents, Lane and Kathy Tabke, near Moville in Woodbury County. Grant works full-time on the farm, while Brianne works full time in nearby Arthur.
MOVILLE — Brianne Streck watched as the storm moved in and decided a safe room in her parents’ nearby home was safer than her basement.

“It was looking pretty bad, so I took the kids to my parents’ house,” she says. “We were there when it hit.”

An EF4 tornado soon tore through the Woodbury County countryside, destroying nearly everything on the farm where Brianne was raised.

“Part of the house was standing, but nearly everything else was gone,” she says. “It was really scary listening to that tornado, but thankfully we were all OK.”

Nearly 11 months after the twister, the farm looks much the same as it did before Oct. 4, 2013. The house has been rebuilt, as have the hog finishers, grain bins and other buildings.

But, not long after that date, Brianne and her husband, Grant, were faced with a choice.

“We had come back home to farm, but now we had a clean slate and had to decide if this was what we really wanted,” she says. “We knew in our hearts that this was where we wanted to be.”

After graduating from Iowa State University in 2005, Brianne spent more than three years working in Wichita, Kan., in Cargill’s hog-procurement division.

She and Grant, who grew up in Arthur, were married in 2007 while they lived in Kansas.

Brianne says they both knew their hearts were in Iowa.

“We talked about it, and we knew we wanted to come back home,” she says.

“So, we left without having any jobs waiting for us. We wanted to be back in Iowa.”

The couple moved back to Iowa in August 2008. They have two daughters: Kadence, 4, and Adelyn, 3.

They farm with Brianne’s parents, Lane and Kathy Tabke.

Brianne worked at a local co-op, then eventually went back to Cargill for another 3½ years.

Grant worked for a local company for a year before going to work full time on the family farm, where he handles most of the hog responsibilities. He also helps with the grain operation.

For about the past year, Brianne has worked as the grain merchandiser for Flint Hills Resources Ethanol in Arthur.

“I love doing it. I love talking to farmers every day,” she says.

Three years ago, Brianne and Grant purchased their first farm, a 60-acre tract. They used an FSA first-time owner loan to purchase the farm and home.

Brianne does most of the grain marketing for the farm as well.

She says having a full-time job off the farm has required a team effort when it comes to their children.

“Grant has taken on quite a bit, getting the girls where they need to be,” Brianne says.

“He has been great with it, and my mom is also really good at helping out. And, we have an awesome daycare provider, so we’ve been able to make it work.”

The Strecks also find time to be active in local organizations, serving on the Woodbury County Farm Bureau board and as 4-H volunteers.

Brianne says the community response to the tornado helped reaffirm their decision to come home.

“People were so amazing, coming out to help and supporting my family and all of the people who lose their homes,” she says.

“It would have been easy to do something else after the tornado, but we knew we had made the right decision to farm.

“We know we are in the right place.”

Jeff DeYoung, Iowa Farmer Today
Editor’s note: This is the third in a series featuring profiles of farmers who continue to work in the ag sector, while holding jobs outside of agriculture.

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