Paint Lick, Kentucky
Owning and operating Lazy Eight Stock Farm in Paint Lick, Kentucky, a 420-acre certified organic farm, is the life Lothar Baumann always wanted for his family, but it isn’t the life they’ve always had.
Lothar grew up a first-generation American, raised by his German parents and was inspired by the farmers in his Mennonite community. He recalls a time when his mother asked him what he wanted to do for a living. He told his her that he wanted to farm, and she replied, “You’ll have to do something else because we don’t have one to give you.”
Without a farm to call his own, Lothar became a teacher and married Carla, a registered nurse. As a young couple, the Baumanns balanced their day jobs while also supporting Carla’s family farm. Yet all the while holding onto the dream of owning their own operation one day. With time and patience, their dream came true.
From Tobacco to Vegetables
In the early years, the farm consisted of a tobacco and beef cattle operation. However, the Baumanns harvested the last of the tobacco crop in 1997 and sold the final group of conventional feeder calves in 2011, choosing to shift their focus back to produce. Today, the Baumanns grow nearly 30 acres of vegetables, which they sell through local farmers markets and support a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) of 150-200 local members.
“We try to do things as naturally as we can,” Lothar said. “The farm also serves as a wildlife haven for deer and bees to enjoy.”
Transition to Organic
Lothar and Carla’s son Bryce shares his parents' love for agriculture and concern for the environment. He chose to attend Berry college where he majored in environment science and fell in love with Anna. When the pair returned to the farm after graduation, Bryce put his college education to work by helping his parents transition the farm to certified organic.
“We were looking for a way to verify the things we were doing in our production practices, farming in a way that fits the land. We focus on soil health and certified organic is a verification that we are doing things correctly,” Bryce said.
The Baumanns have been customer-owners of Central Kentucky Ag Credit throughout the many iterations of Lazy Eight Stock Farm, including the crop and ownership transitions as Bryce and Anna join the family business. “Our relationship with Ag Credit has been a critical piece of our farm to invest and grow our business,” Carla said. “They understand us and our operation. It doesn’t get any better than the relationships we have with Ag Credit.”
As for the future, Bryce and Anna hope that when they ask their two young children, Molly and Jack, what they want to do for a living, their answer will be the same as their grandfather’s answer was many years ago: “I want to farm.”
“Farming can be hard and stressful. Sometimes we even question why we do it. But this is a wonderful life and we get to figure it out together,” Bryce said.
Photo Credit: Meg Wilson