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Producing Excellence

Christine Crumbaugh

St. Louis, MI

Crumbaugh Legacy

Products: Corn, soybeans, wheat, dry beans and sugar beets

Size of Operation: 3,600 acres

In Business Since: 1990

Farm Credit Partner: GreenStone Farm Credit Services

Working with Farm Credit Since: 1990

If a picture tells a thousand words, then farmer/photographer Christine Crumbaugh is saying a lot, both about her own farm and about the beauty she finds in the fields and farms that surround her in central Michigan. “With all the debate around some aspects of agriculture, it’s nice to be able to showcase ag in a positive manner and promote what we do through pictures,” says Christine.

Despite the success her photography has enjoyed, including interest from the Michigan Farm Bureau and other ag industry organizations, Christine first and foremost is a farmer, working with her husband, Clay, to run a diversified 3,600 acre operation.

“Over the last ten years, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds, in the area of technology,” says Christine. “We now have three computers on the farm to manage our data, besides the planter monitors in the tractors to control field operations.” Those GPS-guided and computer-controlled field operations include extensive soil sampling so that the Crumbaughs can employ variable rate seeding as well as site-specific nutrient application. The Crumbaughs plant five different crops each year, a diversification approach designed to mitigate risks stemming from weather, yield and market fluctuations. Their rotation includes corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar beets and dry beans, such as black turtle, navy or pinto.

Unlike many of America’s farmers, Christine didn’t grow up on a family farm. She did, though, date her farming husband while in high school and knew from back then that being a farmer is what she wanted. “It’s said a lot but it’s true, that farming isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life,” says Christine. “Everything you are goes into your farming operation, and it becomes a great place to raise a family and teach responsibility.”

Christine and Clay’s lessons must have taken root, because their elder son just joined the operation after graduating from college, and his younger brother anticipates doing the same in a few years. “I’m looking forward to getting him back on the farm so we can share out some responsibilities,” says Christine. “We’re also looking for ways to expand our cropping operation so we can support more family members, and we’re keeping our eyes open for other ag-related business ventures to further diversify.”

The Crumbaugh’s growth plans are supported by GreenStone Farm Credit Services, which has provided both long-term real estate loans for farm land as well as lines of credit for machinery and other equipment. “Farm Credit has been extremely important to our operation, as it is across much of the state of Michigan,” says Christine.

Perhaps that’s one reason why Christine has taken a leadership role in the organization, first elected to GreenStone’s board of directors three years ago and reelected in April 2015. “Farm Credit in general and GreenStone in particular are just very well run organizations with a focus on agriculture,” says Christine. “Their passion for ag and ours align really well.”

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