"Aw, I just pulled it loose from the other end."
Whether he's mending fence to protect cattle on a winter day, or hitching up a trailer to haul corn, Kristen Klein shows determination, with a diverse operation.
"Cows and calves we'll calve out, then we have a feedlot operation to finish cattle, then corn — grain side, then raise hay to feed cattle too," he explained.
It truly is a family farm, from Kristen's dad Lawrence, 73, to another child on the way.
He said, "Yesterday we had the 7-year-old helping run the grain cart. They're not doing it on their own yet. 9-year-old does it some and the 12-year-old does it all the time."
Counting eldest son Alex and his wife Kendra, Kristen and his wife Michelle have six kids plus the one due by year's end.
And Kristen says they're a factor in the decisions he makes.
He explained, "I'm always thinking about how is this going to affect my kids, and my grand kids, and their ability to provide food for the world."
The Kleins believe the farm is the best classroom, as they home school Nathaniel, Sarah, Zachary, and Kaitlyn.
"Nathaniel was working on math stuff so I said all right; let's go do some real life story problems. Hey, this is math I use every day, why you need to know it," Kristen said.
Math is a subject he knows well, with an engineering degree his dad Lawrence says is a big help when it comes to running modern machines.
"I started out with two row equipment and no cab. Quite a change," the elder Klein said.
But some things don't change. And the Kleins say farm chores teach good work ethic.
Kristen explained, "They can learn what it takes to take care of somebody else, that it's not me–first."
They do have hired help, but do much of the work on their own, usually with a smile. "Got my kids out here, they're just loving life," Kristen said.
The Kleins are active in church activities at Grand Island Evangelical Free and involved with Nebraska Farm Bureau, where Kristen serves as a county leader.
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