Outstanding Young Farmer and Breeder Finalist: Travis and Bethany Wanoreck

By Jennifer Whitlock
Field editor

Agriculture is difficult. Being first generation farmers can be even more difficult. Travis and Bethany Wanoreck know this from experience, but nine years later they say they are happier than ever with the choice they made.

It was the only thing Travis ever wanted to do, but the dream seemed impossible when he graduated from high school.

He grew up on a family farm in Eola, but his father stopped farming in the mid-90s and his grandparents’ land was already rented out to other farmers.

So he went to college and then worked for Helena Chemical. The company posted him to Rob-stown, and he met Bethany while attending church in nearby Orange Grove. In 2012, Travis’ grandfather bought 190 acres of land in Bee County to lease it to the young couple.

And so the Wanorecks became first generation farmers on the coastal turn.

“We started from scratch, literally. It’s hard to get capital and go it alone, ”Travis said. “And the financial system in general has become so much stricter that they are therefore not as willing to lend to young people without a lot of collateral. “

Now they grow cotton, sesame, wheat, corn and sorghum on land owned and leased in three counties, as well as custom plantations and crops for other farmers in the area.

Growing up in Orange Grove, Bethany was exposed to farming by showing animals in 4-H and FFA. But she didn’t know much about farming until she started dating Travis.

Now she divides her time between working for Orange Grove ISD as a school nurse and helping Travis on the farm.

“My job allows me to be more flexible with the farm. We have summers off, that is, during our harvest time here on earth. So, it allows me to be home with the kids while Travis is harvesting. But it also allows me to help prepare meals, deliver meals to the field, chase parts, do payroll and pay bills, while Travis is harvesting in the summer, ” she declared.

Bethany is also helping out on the pitch.

“He’ll throw me on the tractor to plow or something.” I help move the equipment, move the cutter bar, drive the grain cart, whatever it needs, ”she said. “As we farm on three county lines, moving equipment is a full-time job on some days. “

Their three children love being able to spend time with Travis on the tractor after school or during school vacations.

And it’s good to be your own boss and make your own schedule, although Travis laughingly noted that Mother Nature is the real boss of her time.

“It’s like that old saying, ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I love what I do and I just wouldn’t want to raise my family any other way, ”he said.

That doesn’t mean he always finds farming easy. In fact, every year is a struggle, with its share of problems and challenges.

“Since we have been collecting a little more land in recent years, our biggest challenge has been to find manpower – a good helper who is ready to work and stick to it,” he said. he declares. “And there are always other things that we cannot control. This year it was too humid. Last year it was too dry. The year before, the markets were low. There is no greater challenge than the other, so we are always trying to get a good harvest and sell it at the right price and hope for the best.

And the couple want consumers, local and national, to know that they are doing all they can to be good stewards of the land they have been entrusted with.

“I just want consumers to know that my child is there with me in everything I do on the farm. I’m not going to expose them to anything that is harmful to them, ”Travis said. “There is nothing on my farm that I wouldn’t give to my family or have them carry. I’m just trying to do my best with what we have, trying to feed and clothe the world.

Click here to watch a video interview with Travis and Bethany Wanoreck.

They are finalists in the 2021 Texas Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher competition. Click here to learn more about the competition and other opportunities for young farmers and ranchers.