A Lifetime of Farming

Dave Siler counts as his workers load a box on the front of his tractor with corn. The Siler's own 126 acres of various vegetable that they sell to multiple companies and at their road side stand.

Since he started renting out plots of land in high school, Dave Siler devotes his springs and summers to farming.

“I rented out 90 acres when I was sixteen so that I could earn enough money to buy a car,” said Siler and he’s been farming ever since.

Dave and his wife of 43 years, Diane, own over 120 acres of various crops including corn, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and their famous asparagus. They are in Michigan from April until December when they pack up and move to Alabama for the winter.

“I can’t wait until the season’s over. We both work so hard and are just exhausted at the end of each day,” says Diane.

Dave and Diane Siler take a break in their normally hectic day to watch the crop duster they hired fly over their fields. "I love flying. I use to take lessons and was three away from flying solo," said Diane.

The two rarely see each other during the day. Diane is always running from the road side stand to barn to refill the vegetables that have run out and Dave is out in the fields with his workers collecting the crops. Dave hires migrant workers each year to help out on the farm. One worker, Jose Cortez who they always call Joe, has worked with them for 11 years.

Dave Siler talks with Adam Miller, a son of one of the auctioneers, at the weekly Amish Auction where farmers can bring in their own crops and usually find good deals on ones they don't have.

Diane Siler cuts some rosemary to sell at the stand. "I started growing herbs just for myself, but the few times I've brought them to the stand they've sold out within the hour," said Diane.

Jose "Joe" Cortez and Dave Siler put potatoes that have just been turned up by the tractor into the bucket. "I'll never ask some one to do any work I wouldn't do," explained Dave even though he is considered handicapped by his seven back surgeries, two hip replacements, and faulty shoulder.

“Joe’s like our Spanish son. He treats this farm like it’s his own, which we love,” explained Diane.

Even though they do hire the workers Dave and Diane stay involved and work right alongside them.

“I will never ask anyone to do work I would never do,” said Dave as he helps pick up potatoes with Joe. Dave has had seven back surgery’s, both hips replaced, and has shoulder problems, but he doesn’t let that slow him down.

Diane Siler collects money from a costumer at their road-side stand. "You would think because it's self serve we would have lost a lot of money but people are honest," said Diane.


5 thoughts on “A Lifetime of Farming

  1. Good job buddy! I’m proud of you! You got moments and had a graphic opener, you got to know the family, and brought home a watermelon lol.

    P.S. Great job ending on the sale at the road side stand C;

  2. Wow. This is a really great story. I like to see it laid out with the words. It hits me as a real story. You did a nice job.

  3. Great job Katie! I love the photo with the elderly man and the amish kid. You caught a great moment. I really like the first picture also The colors and depth of the photo are phenomenal.

  4. Great job Katie. I loved the image of his hands, and the first one. Great visual variety and great editing the images to tell the story well. Definitely makes me wanna go out and buy some of his food! haha. Great job!!

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