Farmers are special people; they know more about the seasons of a year with planting and harvesting than most people who believe that all food comes from the grocery store.
With his family and wife, Ellen, Wayne Weber farmed 800 acres before turning over its operation to his children. He continues to be a seed dealer for Beck’s Hybrids, a big company, he said, that is family-owned.
Wayne sat at the kitchen table with Ellen to talk about the farm and his faith in the house where he was raised.
He moved away when he went to college and for a time when he and Ellen were first married, but “it felt great moving here.”
He describes his wife and partner as being “in 110 percent. I wouldn’t be anything without Ellen.”
With eight children — four boys and four girls — the farm was a great place to raise his family. Now, he is happy to turn over the farm to his four sons and one son-in-law who formed Weber Ag.
“It’s satisfying to see my sons and son-in-law work together to manage our little farm.”
“The family is very close-knit,” Wayne’s brother, Bill Weber said. “They are the classic example of a Catholic family that works, plays and prays together.”
Wayne said he saw the way farming was going: bigger to bigger.
“A bigger farm would mean less time for family,” Ellen said.
And for Wayne, family is more important than anything else.
Through the years, Wayne has seen some good, some bad years.
“Some days, at the end of the day, I was not sure I wanted to be a farmer,” he said, “but that didn’t last long. I have no regrets.”
Being able to raise his family on the farm was one of the reasons he wanted to be a farmer, he said.
“All farmers, in the back of their minds, have concern for the environment.”
Wayne served on the Richland County Soil and Water Conservation Board. He is “an example to many local farmers,” Bill Weber said. “This follows the concern of Pope Francis and his encyclical Laudate Sí.”
He followed practices that would “not do more tillage than necessary,” Wayne said.
“No till” means leaving the topsoil intact and not over tilling the ground. Last year’s “cornstalks protect the soil,” he said.
With his faith guiding him, Wayne feels a tie to the soil as “farm life is working with nature,” and he feels better being “outside.”
Farmers need great faith “to go out every spring and put all that money in a crop that might not work out,” he said.
Reflecting further, he describes a corn plant as “a wondrous thing, something God created.” The Webers have a “family day” when the sweet corn comes in. They gather, harvest the corn, cut it off the cob and freeze it to enjoy months later.
For the crops, Wayne said: “We have to hope the weather is good, but it’s frustrating when we can’t get a rain when the crops need it.”
If it doesn’t turn out this year, “there’s always next year; every year is different,” he said.
Wayne and Ellen are parishioners at Holy Cross Parish in Wendelin.