During the COVID-19 pandemic, most teenagers were adjusting to remote learning and staying inside for most of the day.  Although Tyler Fastnacht along with his brother and stepbrothers of Wessington Springs we're engaging in e-Learning, they also exhausted a great deal of time caring for their family's labor of love.

Tyler, his brother, and stepbrothers spent the last eight weeks of the academic year helping their father and grandfather on their cattle farm.  The boys were busy completing daily farm chores involving their cattle as well as training their show pigs. “We’re never bored on the farm. There’s always something to do – feeding cattle, calving, moving cows,” explains Tyler to the South Dakota Farmer's Union.

Tyler's dad, Shane is a fourth-generation cattle farmer in Wessington Springs and tells the South Dakota Farmer's Union that raising cattle was always a dream for him.  Shane also works as a regional plant protection strategy lead for an ag retail and distribution company.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic limited Shane's work-related travel and forced him to do most of his work from his farm office.  This arrangement was extremely beneficial as it afforded Shane more time on the farm during calving season.  The extra hands-on attention the cattle received was definitely an incentive for a successful calving season.

Shane is thankful that he had his and his wife Julie's sons around to help with the extra load.  “To me it’s the work ethic we are teaching them. They are busy. They are hands-on. They help with feeding, calving, working calves, help calve out heifers, bed barns, bed calf shelters – they are very actively involved,” says Shane.  Julie, who is a K-12 music teacher, adds that the boys were learning to take care of something other than themselves.  It teaches them the world is more than just about them.

Showing livestock is the fun part for the Fastnacht family, especially the pigs!  The boys enjoy the process of training their pigs and watching the animals grow up.  They especially look forward to taking their pigs on their daily walks every summer.

To read more about the Fastnacht Family and their farm, click here on the story from the South Dakota Farmer's Union.

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