Farming with a second income,
to build farming operation
DD Bixby, Herald and News 7/3/08
Ty and Brooke Kliewer walk with their 18-month-old son
Cade through a pasture. The Kliewers raise cattle and hay,
but subsidize a portion of their income with Brooke’s
and Brooke Kliewer are working toward the day when they’ll
both be on the farm full-time.
Ty Kliewer, 30, works on the farm with his
father and brother and takes care of the couple’s 18
month-old son, Cade.
Brooke Kliewer, 28, currently is on maternity
leave while the couple awaits their second child. But come
Oct. 1 — just in time for the potato harvest — she’ll be
back in Tulelake working as a research assistant at the
University of California’s Intermountain Research and
Though Ty Kliewer gladly takes on the role of
caring for their son – he excitedly explains he gets a
father-son experience most don’t — both Kliewers say the
situation isn’t ideal. But it’s a must while they build up
their own farming operation.
“To make it work, we work with his family,”
Brooke Kliewer said, explaining that with the current work
situation, office work, fields, cows, son and housework
are completed well after 9 p.m., just in time for the
couple to head to bed, meaning they see each other mostly
There are days, too, where Brooke Kliewer pulls
double shifts at the extension center and again back on
“It’s difficult having to work and not spending
time with him,” she said. “And when I’m working long hard
hours, the last thing I want to do is come home and do it
But they’ve set their goal and are working
“Eventually, if we could reach a point where we
owned all our equipment, to get big enough to split off”
on our own, Ty Kliewer said.
The father-sons operation has grown considerably
since Ty Kliewer attended Henley High School, and he said
he has respect for his own parents, who built their
farming business from the ground up.
Brooke and Ty are aiming for 150 head of cattle,
marketing 60 bulls per year. They also plan to grow hay,
because doing cattle without the harvest
to sustain and subsidize an operation is suicide, they
Their herd is at about 70 now, but without
property and equipment of their own, they’re not ready to
start their own farm.
Ups and downs
Additionally, the cattle market is so volatile
they castrated more than 50 percent of their bull crop,
and the Klamath Basin’s early bad weather curtailed the
Ty Kliewer, who worked briefly as an agriculture
teacher at Henley High School before returning to the
fields, said that though he loves working the land, the
economy is such that he can’t rule out
the possibility he might need take a job in town someday.
“When I’m old,” he said.
“I really hope to look back at this time as
the most volatile time in my life.”