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Kodie McCollum Unruh


Severy, KS

I'm not sure what my future has in store for me, but at least I know I am doing everything I can to keep our family legacy alive.

I grew up working on my family's farm. We ran a diversified operation with a working dairy, beef cattle and also crops. Saying it kept us busy is an understatement. When I graduated from high school, I attended Kansas State University, where I majored in Agribusiness with plans to someday get into marketing. After my junior year, I traveled to Racine, Wisconsin for a summer internship. The position was in high horsepower tractors, which was right up my alley considering my degree and my background.

After the summer was over and I returned to school to finish my senior year. I was thrilled. I loved my internship and had a promising future with the company once I completed my degree.

Over Thanksgiving we had a family emergency. My uncle caught his arm in the PTO of one of our tractors and was taken to Wichita, KS. It happened the Saturday after Thanksgiving and I felt like my world had fallen out from beneath me. My uncle didn't have any children of his own and he ran the farm with my father. To my sisters and me, he had always been a second dad and there for every part of our lives. His accident left him in the hospital for three and half weeks and required my dad to take on all the responsibility of the farm.

At this point my sisters and I made a decision to pitch in and be at the farm every second we could. For the rest of the school year, I came home every weekend to help out; we also spent our entire Christmas break and spring break working at the farm. I eventually stopped pursuing out of state jobs and asked my father if I should just come work for him after graduation. He said yes.

Almost a year after graduation I can say this is where I am meant to be. Growing up I had always pictured myself heading back to the family business, but I figured that would happen after having a different career for fifteen years or so. When it came time to make the decision, I knew if we had to sell the family farm when I had the option to help keep it going, that's something I could never forgive myself for. So instead I ended up back home on the farm years before I had planned—and I am loving every second. I'm not sure what my future has in store for me, but at least I know I am doing everything I can to keep our family legacy alive.