The student news site of Mother of Divine Grace in Ojai, California

Andrew Jirak

Jirak brothers working on the family farm.

MODG Family Working Farm

Andrew Jirak works on his family’s farm in Cummings, Kansas.

What kind of farm?

The kind of farm we are considered would be commercial.

What crops do you grow?

The crops we grow are: sweet corn, watermelon, cantelope, slicer tomatoes, grape and cherry tomatoes, summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers, bell peppers, sweet peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, pumpkins, green beans. Next year, we will begin growing apples and a small quantity of peaches.

Do you grow for profit?

We do it for profit, which is used to help me and my siblings go to college.

Does your general profit come from Farmer’s markets?

The main part of our profit normally comes from schools and food services, this year due to Covid the majority came from the farmer’s market.

When did your family start farming?

We began farming 17 years ago.

What is your role on the farm?

My role on the farm is about the same as the rest of my family, most things are done through team effort. On picking days we divide and conquer. I’ll usually help pick corn, watermelon, cantelope, squash, and cucumbers and, when you finish you go help whoever isn’t done.

What livestock do you have?

As far as livestock goes, we are not impressive, we have 27 chickens but they are all very much part of the team.

How do you adjust to the change in weather?

Adapting to weather is difficult; You always hope to have a perfect year, but that’s never the case. You just have to “make hay while the sun shines.” When you can work, you have to work.

Which season is the hardest?

The most difficult part of the year is about 5-6 weeks in late August to early October where school is starting, but we are still at full production on the farm. This is where being homeschooled really helps because we need the flexibility to jump ahead or catch up the next day.

Would you want to continue working on the farm when you’re an adult?

Working on or even taking over the farm in the future has always been a possibility to me. I love it, and I know I’d miss it if I wasn’t doing it. I would love to be able to give my children the same opportunity to work hard that I’ve had. At the same time I have other passions, and the farm requires a lot of time and work. My dad has a job outside of our farm and farming is how he “relaxes,” so I could do both most certainly.

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