It only takes a short visit with Karen Krehbiel to see clearly what drives everything she does. Faith. As a wife, a mother, an accountant, a business owner, and a producer, she attributes success in every area of her life to God.
The journey has been far from easy. Karen lost her husband Jeff to brain cancer in 2011. Prior to becoming ill, Jeff and his father Wayne had taken care of the farm operations while Karen tended to her accounting business. Following his death, she has proudly stepped in to help Wayne with the day-to-day operations of their 2,000 acre farm growing wheat, milo, and peanuts and raising commercial ewes. She sees it as an honor to preserve the Krehbiel family agriculture legacy.
“The way I see it, as a producer I have a responsibility to those who came before me to continue the legacy they began; I have a responsibility to our daughter Brittany to make sure our farm operates in a profitable manner so she will have an opportunity to pursue her dream of returning to the farm after college; and I have a responsibility to the consumer to produce a safe, healthy and consistent product. If I don’t keep up with my responsibility, a four-generation family farm would end with me. ” Karen said.
American consumers are blessed with an abundance of affordable choices when they walk down the supermarket aisles. Perhaps we could all learn a lesson in gratitude from the Krehbiel family.
“Before Jeff got sick we would go to the grocery store as a family. We always made it a point to come home, cook a meal, and reflect on how blessed we are. Jeff would often say, as we sat down to a steak dinner at home, that we were eating better than kings in some countries.” Karen recalled. “We were able to drive to the store; we had choices when we got there; we had money to purchase the food; we had appliances to cook it; and it tasted good!”
The Krehbiels, like many agricultural families, have chosen to live right in the middle of their operation. Take a look out any window in their home, and you will see crops growing and maturing.
“We live on the property where we raise livestock and farm and we won’t do anything in our operation that is going to put our family at risk. We also have multiple neighbors adjoining each piece of property we farm and we are not going to do anything to harm them. These are people we love.” Karen noted. “We are good stewards of the land we are trusted with. Everything we do affects our drinking water, our land, and the air we breathe; so we are very interested in operating safely and efficiently.”
The Krehbiel Family was named Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year in November 2014. See more of their story here.