After college, Chris O’Connell was content with his life choices. He taught math at Cascade High School and like many teachers, worked outside the classroom during the summers. But for Chris, the farm work he did with his dad in the summer became increasingly more meaningful and attractive. Finally, about three years ago, he made the transition from full-time teacher to full-time farmer. He says the lifestyle suits him well, and apparently it suits his wife Amy, also. Amy had made a similar choice, shelving for the time being her BS in Equestrian Ed and MS in Ag Ed, to work on her family’s farm.
Chris farms with his father John and brother Kevin on the homestead near Bankston that has been in their family for over 150 years. The farm has been certified organic since 2002. They currently have about 100 head of grass-fed beef, and they also grow a diverse rotation of organic row crops and small grains to support their herd. They are currently converting some of their crop land to pasture as their beef production expands.
The most significant expansion for Chris and Amy this year was the birth of their son Waylon in October. Waylon will be the sixth generation to grow up on the O’Connell farm. He’s a cute little guy and you’ll often find him at market with his parents. Stop by their market stand for some high-quality meats, get some tips and recipes, and congratulate them on the new addition to their family.