“Agri” is Their “Culture”
This is the way of life. To live here with all God’s creatures from eagles to deer to our farm animals – this is the best. I always wanted to farm and now I am with my son and grandsons right along beside me,” exclaimed John Oravec II.
The Oravecs live and work on their 300 plus acre farm in Howell County between Mountain View and Willow Springs. They’ve been farming here now since 1992.
“I bought this farm in 1988 and my parents moved here from California in 1990,” explained John II. “I came back in 1992 and started my dream of farming.”
The farm John and his family purchased is a piece of history in itself. “The land has only had four owners over the history of the records,” he said. “It was homesteaded in the mid 1800’s, there was an owner after that and we purchased the land from the Godsy’s who owned it the majority of the time, at least they are the owners most people around here remember,” John II added.
“When we bought the farm the original homestead house was still standing, in parts,” recalled John II. “It was made of natural rock and you could still see the window frames and the rock walls. Over time it’s fallen in, but it was amazing to see it when we were looking to purchase the land.
“The house that I live in now, was built in 1921 and has the old dirt floors for the cellar and a rock foundation,” said John II. “Actually the cellar was built under the house after the house was completed. I’ve done a lot of work to restore it, including new wiring and plumbing, but I’m very proud to live in the house that is almost 100 years old.”
“Mr. Godsy was known for the Indian corn he grew in the bottom fields,” John III recalled. “There are many kids who remember hauling hay out of those fields and many other farmers who remember the day when the Godsy’s farmed the land. We are just excited to be able to continue farming the land that has been so good to owners over the past 200 years.”
The Present – The Farmers
Currently John II and his sons live on the farm. “John III and his wife Juli live across the road in the house that my parents built when they moved here in 1990,” John II explained. “They have two sons, Trey, 10 and Trevor, 5 who are excited and happy to be on the farm.
“Another son, Chris and his fiancé Melanie have recently had a house built on the farm and are living here now too,” added John II.
According to John II, his son John is the farm manager and runs the show, along with his family.
“Juli and I are both leaders in the 4-H Club. Juli is the club co-leader and I am the beef project leader,” explained John III. “I was involved in 4-H before I moved here and was happy to help the boys start projects. Naturally those projects became farm animals,” he chuckled.
The Oravecs have a commercial herd of cows numbering 35 right now. “We’d like to build the herd to 50 cows, but that is something that just takes time. And with the cost of supplies right now, that makes it even more difficult to keep heifers to increase our herd size,” explained John III.
“We have crossbred cows we breed to Angus and Hereford bulls. These crosses seem to be beneficial when it comes to market time. We also like to keep heifers to increase our herd,” Juli added.
“Watching all the cows have their babies is the best time of all on the farm. It really makes all the hard work worth it,” added Trey.
In addition to the cattle on the farm, the Oravecs put up about 100 acres of grass hay each year equaling about 300 round bales. “We also do some custom farming,” John III explained. “Last year we baled almost 400 bales for other farmers. Some of that was done on shares.”
John II is excited about the future of their farm. “I’m so proud to be able to have my family here and three generations of us farming this land. The quality of the land has proven to be good bottom land for us,” he added.
“We hope to be able to increase our cattle herd to around 50 head and of course we’d like to purchase additional land that borders our farm,” explained John III.
“I just want to continue to raise my cows on the farm with dad and papa John,” added Trey.