Wednesday morning, it was an honor to recognize Todd and Janell Harman as the Farm Family of the Year at the Annual Farm Forum. This award is presented on behalf of the Ag Chamber of Commerce Committee and is selected based on the family's leadership and community service throughout the county. The following is some background information about the Harmans that demonstrates why they were selected.
Todd and Janell Harman raise registered Shorthorn cattle. The operation, headquartered west of Inman, covers about 1,000 acres spread across McPherson, Ellsworth, and Rice counties, which are predominately native grass pastures with some crop ground.
Todd grew up on a ranch in southern Nebraska, just north of Norton, where the focus was on commercial cow and calf pairs, with a back in yard, hay and crops. He was very involved in the Norton Community High School FFA program and the farm.
Janell was raised in Ellsworth, where her father and she started a small Shorthorn herd after becoming familiar with the breed through 4-H.
Todd and Janell both graduated from Kansas State University, where they also met. Todd majored in agricultural economics and Janell's degree is in industrial engineering. They were married after graduation and moved to Iowa where Todd began his career with the Archer Daniels Midland Co., and Janell began working in the industrial manufacturing sector.
In the fall 1996, the couple purchased a small acreage in eastern Iowa and established TJ Land and Cattle Company, with 10 acres and three cows. The following spring, opportunity knocked when Todd's company offered him a transfer to Hutchinson. Their current home was purchased at that time, and the cattle herd began to expand.
Three years later, their son, Max, was born, and Janell became a stay-at-home mom after a short career consulting with government contractors. Another couple of years passed, and their daughter, Rachel, joined the family. Max is now a seventh-grader at Inman Junior High School, while Rachel is a fifth-grader at Inman Elementary School. Both children are very active in school, 4-H projects and sports, and Max has joined FFA.
Todd and Janell have both been very active in agriculture and community-related activities since they moved back to McPherson County. Todd has served as County KLA director, treasurer for the Kansas Beef Expo, president of the Kansas Shorthorn Association, chairman of a Committee for the American Shorthorn Association, and St. Peter's UCC Church Council. He recently has been involved with helping to charter a new chapter of the FFA Alumni Association in Inman and is serving as that organization's first president.
Janell has served as chairwoman of the McPherson County Extension Board, a member of the Kansas State Extension Advisory Council, secretary of the Kansas Shorthorn Association, chairwoman of the Reno County Cattleman's Board of Directors, a member of the planning committee for the Annual McPherson County Cow/Calf school, and as a member of the 4-H, Family Consumer Science, and Economic Development Extension Program Development Committees. She is a member of the St. Peter's UCC Church Council, a member of the Inman Board of Education, and Community Leader for the Country Cousins 4-H Club. She also does custom AI work for a variety of cattlemen in the area.
Page 2 of 2 - Take time to congratulate the Harman's on their Farm Family of the Year award. It is well earned!
Jonie James is a McPherson County Extension agent for agriculture.