Jim Ed Peel (Slater)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Spencer, Lori, Jim Ed and Jensen Peel (Rachel Knight/Missouri Farms)

Jim Ed Peel has been around farming all his life and has never wanted to do anything different.

His dad started the farm north of Slater and worked side by side with his brother.

The farm consisted of row crops -- corn, soybeans and wheat -- as well as a swine operation. After his father unexpectedly passed away in 1995, Peel fed the last bunch of hogs out and sold them. He then bought into his uncle's livestock and a couple of elderly neighbor's stock to begin his adventure in the cattle business. He now runs a 110-head cow-calf operation.

A typical life on the farm for Peel -- in another month or so -- would be to get up and check cows every morning. In the winter time, he stays busy with feeding cows. Spring brings planting, while fall brings harvest. Peel also custom bales hay along with baling around 1,000 round bales of hay for his livestock.

He said his schedule is pretty ordinary for a farmer.

"If we don't have a lot going on, we work in the shop," Peel said. "I try to do all my own welding and I have restored a couple of tractors just to have something to do."

When asked why he continues to farm, he said, "I don't know of anything else to do. There's nothing else I've ever wanted to do. This is it."

Peel said he never left the Saline County area because the enriched agricultural area is the best.

"When you're here, you're in the breadbasket of the country," he said. "You go an hour any other direction and it is not as good as here."

His pride in family also kept him in the area.

"The ground was here and the family was here, so there was no need to go anywhere else," Peel said.

Peel and his wife, Lori, have been married for almost 25 years and have two children, Spencer and Jensen. Spencer is a senior at Slater High School and active in FFA. Jensen is a sophomore and active in 4-H and FFA.

Peel said his row crops are looking good and he expects to start harvesting corn soon. His children will be heading back to school and his wife, who's a gifted instructor for Marshall Public Schools, will head back to school as well.

"Things will calm down around here," he said.

Come harvest time though, he and his full-time employee, Sheldon Gerlt, who has worked for Peel for six years now, will be busy with trucking grain to Central Missouri AGRIServices in Slater.

Gerlt began working with Peel when he was 16 years old. Peel said he's more like a member of the family and a good boy.

Peel is a board member of Central Missouri AGRIService LLC, which is a joint venture of Fletcher Grain Company of Marshall, MFA Incorporated of Brunswick and Cooperative Association No. 1 of Slater.

He is also the director of the local U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Peel and his family are members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Marshall.

Contact Rachel Knight at rknight@marshallnews.com