- The Meeker Family: Sowing a New Pattern
- By CAT SZALKOWSKI
- The 63rd Missouri Photo Workshop / Clinton, Mo.
While maintaining the tradition of farm and family, Mat & Valerie Meeker also create a new set of opportunities and a more modern lifestyle for themselves and their children Emily, 12, Corbin, 7, and Addison (Addie), 2 ½. Mat partnered with Valerie’s father, Bob Higgins, on his farm 12 years ago and now is the primary responsibility holder for approximately 1200 acres of row crop, a few hundred head of cattle and a rock quarry. Bob is in the process of retiring but is having a hard time leaving the work he loves. Valerie is the owner of a successful portrait photography business, working from a studio built on the back of their farmhouse property. While basic domestic responsibilities fall to her, she fully discloses her lack of cooking skill and also commits herself to running her own business and keeping the family wheel turning supporting the interests of her and Mat’s three children.
Maintaining proximity to family is important to Valerie and running the family farm brings a great sense of contentedness to Mat who was raised on a hog farm in Iowa until his very early teenage years. Mat is not hurried or anxious in his daily farm routine nor is Valerie harried or stressed. The couple has solved the current dilemma facing most farms which seem to be having more and more trouble turning over their land to the next generation to continue on with their traditions and building on the established. They have “sown” a new pattern of living for themselves focusing on a way of life that fulfills them and the result is a more modern version of American life on the family farm.
Mat Meeker checks the instrument panel in his combine as he harvests his last field of corn for this season in Deepwater, MO on Thursday, September 29, 2011.
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