Hello, I'm Mick Rausch. Here's a little bit about my family, the farm, and what we do both on and off the farm.

My wife, Nancy, and I were both raised in Garden Plain, in western Sedgwick County. We were married in 1976 and took over Nancy's dad's dairy operation. We bought dairy cows from three different herds and started our own dairy.

From this small start, we have grown the operation to include 220 owned acres and 700 rented. My father-in-law continued to farm until he retired. We then took over his acres. We currently milk 50 Holsteins, raise corn, milo, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat and have several native grass pastures we bale for hay.

Just recently, we decided to get out of the dairy business and concentrate strictly on farming. We are looking to start a beef herd. The decision to quit dairying was not easy, but the future of the small dairy in today's climate is very challenging. Regulation and high feed costs have made it almost impossible to be able to dairy and still provide a decent living for your family. It's going to be different not having to get up early to milk, but part of me is looking forward to life after milking.

We have two grown children. Jodi is married to Bryan Lies. They live in Halstead, where Bryan farms and Jodi teaches at Eisenhower Middle School and coaches. They are the parents of a young daughter who is the pride and joy of the whole family. Steve, our son, works as an auto tech for Lubbers in Cheney and helps on the farm, especially during harvest. It is nice to have a mechanic around the farm at that time.

Both Nancy and I try to stay active in local and church activities. Nancy was with the Booster Club for years and is still with the Altar Society at the church. She works for the Goddard school district in nutritional services while helping milk and take care of the home. I served nine years on the Farmers Co-op board of directors and served as an associate director this past year. I just recently got off the Sedgwick County Farm Bureau board after serving six years.

Being involved has given us the chance to go and see places we would have never been able to do otherwise. We have been to Washington, D.C., twice to speak with lawmakers on issues that affect farmers and how we farm. We also went to Topeka to talk with our local legislators and educate them on farm issues. I believe that we must continue to be involved in the political process. If we don't, someone who does not understand farming will make decisions for us. The risk is too great not to be active and speak up about farming.

One issue that is on our radar is water, especially with the drought we are in. We must be alert on whatever water laws are passed. The next farm bill or lack of one continues to be of concern. We need to know what the future will be so we can make plans and cropping decisions.

From Honey May Farm, I hope everyone has a very prosperous year.