Harvest Heritage: Hurst Family Farms

The Morning Show

COLES COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Knowing what a co-worker is thinking is important, particularly to one father-son farming duo.

John Hurst, and father Paul Hurst, farm east of Mattoon on family land dating back to the 1800s and can trace their heritage to the first settlers in Coles County.

“Levi Doty was referred to as the first white settler in Coles County by the family,” John Hurst says. “History doesn’t quite document it that way but that’s on his tombstone and we’ve always heard the story that he came and lived with the Indians.”

“Then he went back the next year and brought people back with him,” says Paul Hurst.

The farm is centered around Loxa and composed of owned and rented ground, and like many farms, their quandary is weed control.

“We were quick to embrace round up, but less quick to embrace dicamba because of the obvious reasons of difficulty spraying it, and quite honestly custom applicators aren’t crazy about dicamba either,” says John Hurst. “We didn’t embrace it real quick because we were worried about drift and the way it moves around. Kind of unpredictable.

“I think sometimes you catch on things that are negative and run with it. But I think people know we are out here working hard to feed them and to do it in a responsible way.”

WCIA asks: Why do they farm?

“I’ve been planting corn ever since in the 60s,” says Paul Hurst. “I’ve planted every year, and maybe this year too, I plan to. I told the preacher when I get to heaven I want to run the corn planter.”

“I farm because he farms,” says John Hurst. “I just like working beside him a whole lot.”

WCIA asks: What keeps that going? How do you work together and are just one?

“Just the way it’s always been,” says Hurst. “I tell people we don’t need walkie talkies or cell phones to talk. We pretty know what each other is thinking, and a few hand signals along the way. It’s just second nature.”

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