Farming in the Sunshine

Lisa Humphreys

Lisa Humphreys

United Soybean Board

Burrier’s Linganore Farm – Union Bridge, Maryland

Ever since Linda Burrier was a youngster growing up in the suburbs in Carroll County, Maryland, she has been drawn to the fresh air and freedom of the outdoors. Nursing this passion throughout her life, she has done every job under the sun from personal gardening to horse care to her current life’s work, row-crop and hay farming.

“I love farming because I’m an outside person,” she said from her farm in central Maryland. “I like to get my hands in the dirt, smell the alfalfa and know I’m taking care of the land, along with my family. Life doesn’t get any better than that.”

HouseAfter marrying her husband, Dave, in 2002, Linda set to work on their 1,200-acre farm immediately and has grown into being a full-time farmer. Together, they make decisions about equipment, the varieties to plant in their test plots and how to make sure their farm is sustainable.

The Burriers raise soybeans, corn and wheat and bale straw and hay. Last year, they baled 45,000 small square bales for a list of repeat clients. Getting the hay to their clients is one of the tasks that keep them moving through the winter. They also dry their remaining grain, ship it to fulfill contracts and make sure all of their equipment is in tip-top shape.

“We bring in all our equipment and see if we can fix anything or update the technology,” she said. “We spend a lot of time in the shop in the winter months to make our equipment as efficient as possible.”

Combine_GrainCartDuring the winter, Linda and Dave also attend as many conferences as they can to widen their knowledge base and keep up to date on the latest trends and technology.

“We like to take advantage of as much learning as we can at the shows,” she said. “We split up sometimes to attend different sessions at the same show and then gather at end of day to discuss. Then, we try to implement new ag practices to maximize input and output on our farm.”

Biotechnology helps the Burriers do just that.

“We really like the genetic advances the seed companies are making,” she said. “As far as the seeds we buy, the more efficient the crops are, the fewer inputs we have to buy, which saves us money. We’re definitely for biotech.”

FarmBiotech can also enhance the sustainability of a farm, such as by making it easier to use no-till practices. The Burriers’ farm is 100 percent no-till. They also use pest-management practices and follow a nutrient plan. Another way they practice sustainability is through strip farming, which is the practice of growing strips of row crops, such as soybeans and corn, with alternate rows of closely sown crops such as hay, wheat or other small grains.

“Strip farming cuts down on erosion, and we also have grass waterways and buffer strips along the streams,” Linda said. “We want to take care of our water and soil, and we want to pass on our land to the next generation. We want them to get better than we got.”

Family is important to Linda and Dave. Both of their daughters continue to help out on the farm as they start families of their own. In addition, Linda said that she and Dave are lucky enough to be able to have both of their dads as occasional farmhands.

“Our dads, who are in their 80s, help us on the farm when they can,” she said. “They might drive the tractor for us or do other little things. It puts a sparkle in your eye, even if it’s just for a little while.”

As the winter continues on with its unique farming tasks, Linda said she is ready for planting season to start again.

“I can’t wait to get out on the tractor and ride in the sunshine,” she said. “I’m looking forward to farming with the family.”