All in the Family for Schutz Farms
The extended Schutz family works together, lives within two miles of one another and gathers weekly for Sunday dinner, too.
And the farm structure parallels the way they dine: The farm business makes room for multiple relatives to earn a livelihood, just as they have a seat at the dinner table. Schutz Farms Inc. in West Central Illinois raises hogs and cattle and grows field corn to support six households. Among the relatives are two brothers, three grown sons, their spouses and children. The sixth household includes a farm employee, who seems like family. He started working there in the 1960s.
“I’m the sixth generation, raising the seventh here,” says Chad Schutz, who lives with his wife and two daughters in the house where he was raised. “You grow up with a real love of what you do.”
The Schutz family lives and works on the same land as its German ancestors did in the 1850s. Yet this farm operates with a modern-day mindset to meet today’s market demands.
The family incorporated its farm for small business advantages. Climate-controlled buildings comfort their hogs. Co products from a local ethanol plant supplement their cattle feed. The family takes advantage of price premiums available for non-biotech field corn. And they sustain a visual presence online, where the public can view farm activities.
On the farm near White Hall, the family cares for hogs and cattle. While common decades ago, a small percentage of today’s Illinois farms raises both livestock species. This diversification supports multiple families on the farm.
The Schutzes annually care for 4,000 to 5,000 pigs from wean to finish. They buy young, weaned pigs at about 12 pounds and feed and care for them for about six months to market weight, around 290 pounds.
On the cattle side, the family runs a cow-calf farm and feeds about 200 calves to market weight.
Chad’s wife, Stacy, works full-time on the farm, too. She handles feed rations, bookwork and other chores. Their daughter Lana, 11, has been around cattle since she was old enough to walk. Bridget, 8, enjoys the pigs and has developed a keen motherly instinct.
“They spend a lot of time outside and helping us,” Chad says. “For their ages, they are very responsible little girls.”