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Farming with a second income, Family works 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 second job.

   Ty 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 Extension Center. 

   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 in passing. 

   Balancing acts 

   There are days, too, where Brooke Kliewer pulls double shifts at the extension center and again back on the farm. 

   “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 some more.” 

   But they’ve set their goal and are working toward it. 

   “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 said. 

   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 hay crop. 

   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.”
Side Bar
Looking for agri-tourism businesses

   Some ranches in the outlying areas of Klamath County are branching out into the emerging niche-business of “agritourism,” becoming destinations for events and celebrations. 

   On Bly Mountain Cutoff Road outside Bonanza, Rock Bottom Ranch’s beds showcase nursery stock and the picturesque Koi ponds are a perfect backdrop for weddings. On the other side of Bonanza on Burgdorfer Road, 12 Ranch Wines is preparing landscape designs to do the same. 

   Do you know of any other area farms and ranches that are trying this new sector of agriculture industry? If so, please contact Herald and News agriculture reporter DD Bixby, (541) 885-4415, dbixby@heraldandnews. com.
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              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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