In the mid-1800’s when many of today’s farms were started in central Illinois, it was frequently the boy next door marrying the girl next door that started a new farm family. That is just how the family of our harvest heritage feature began nearly 150 years ago in Piatt county.
We farm on the Cerro Gordo moraine and basically that was the high ground, the best ground around because they hadn’t gotten figured out the drainage ditches actually needed to drain the swamps.
That is Steve Ayers whose maternal grandparents determined the location of the family farm, which has a substantial soil preservation element, thanks to his late father Dick Ayers, educated as an engineer…
We have parallel terraces about 120 feet on centers, we have circular terraces, we have horseshoe terraces. It takes al lot longer to farm those terraces but it prevents most of the erosion, but we want to keep the soil on the farm, that’s kind of the goal.
Steve farms about a thousand acres with the next generation.
This is my son in law Zach Hillard, he is married to my oldest daughter and this is their daughter Isabelle who just turned 7. Zach Hillard
There’s been a lot of work done here in the past and to continue that on for generations is really important, I think the management of the land whether it is through the no till operation, or just managing the land through the terraces and all the work that has been put in there.
And then we have Tom Ayers, is my nephew
Help out in the spring when we can and at harvest when we can. Zach and I both work in the office so this is between vacation and time after work and on weekends together we find out farm interest together.
Over the years, you want to leave the farm better than you found it, and that is kind of the goal of what we do
…on the Ayers family farm near Bement. This is Stu Ellis with WCIA3 your local news leader.