Whether watching the sky or the television meteorologists, Stacey Krehbiel always has his eye on the weather.

“I’m a constant weather watcher,” the Pretty Prairie farmer said, adding with a laugh, “my ultimate goal - I want to get to where I never have to worry about the weather again.”

But as a farmer in Kansas, that’s a pipedream.

Yet Stacey chose farming - becoming the fourth generation in a profession that relies heavily on Mother Nature for income. On the same farmstead where his father, Richard, grew up, Stacey and his wife, Robin, have raised two children - daughter Claire, 16, a junior at Pretty Prairie High School, and son Wyatt, 19, a freshman at Hutchinson Community College.

“I didn’t know anything else, I guess,” Stacey said with a chuckle. “You know how some kids grow up knowing exactly what they want to do? I didn’t.”

Stacey, however, worked as a salesman for Purina after graduating from Kansas State University and realized he didn’t like it. A couple near Hutchinson was looking for someone to run their Charolais ranch part time, and he jumped at the opportunity.

It gave him the start to build up his operation.

“I moved back here and bought some cows,” Stacey said. “That is what I was doing when I met Robin.”

Robin grew up on a farm and ranch near St. Leo in Kingman County where her parents, Doug and Pam Leibl, still run cattle. Stacey and Robin met while attending Hutchinson Community College but reconnected at the Pretty Prairie Rodeo years later.

They married in 1995. To grow the operation and support his family, Stacey decided to invest in a swather and do custom work. Today, he has two swathers and four balers.

“Custom haying is what has grown us,” Stacey said. “It has been the main source of income for a lot of years.”

Today, the farm includes the custom haying operation, along with a cowherd, soybeans and wheat. Robin teaches kindergarten at South Hutchinson.

The couple bought 400 acres from Stacey’s grandfather, Ralph Krehbiel, shortly after they married. Now they are expanding again, buying out Stacey’s father and mother, Richard and Kay Krehbiel.

That’s worrisome, he admits, especially in the current economy. He doesn’t know what his income will be year after year. He can’t control the acres of hay his farmer clients have.

“And I can’t control the weather, obviously,” he added.

They have a good banker, he said.

While Stacey wasn’t sure growing up what his career path would be, Robin was confident about hers.

“I wouldn’t have married anyone who wasn’t a farmer,” she said. “I wouldn’t have considered anything else.”

“It’s good family time,” said Stacey. “I suppose that is why I didn’t pursue something else.”

That includes wheat harvest - his favorite time of the year. He has a dozen people come to help - including his brother, Corey, and his family.

“I love harvest. I love driving a combine,” he said. “My brother comes back, and we have his kids here. My mother fixes meals, and Robin brings unbelievably good deserts out. Everyone is here, and it is just fun."

Wyatt said he wants to come back to the farm someday. Right now, he is interested in agriculture engineering.

He has the same passion as his parents.

“I’d trade every single holiday all year for one more wheat harvest in a year,” Wyatt said.