Farm for Life Editorial Series from Missouri Department of Agriculture: Lehenbauer Litmus Test

Photo courtesy Mo. Agriculture Mark and Amy Lehenbauer with their son.

Mark and Amy Lehenbauer run a diversified farm on their family’s land in Palmyra, Missouri. The Lehenbauer’s pride themselves in maintaining their diversification strategy, while raising their three children on the farm with values close to their hearts. 

Mark, a fourth generation farmer, focuses on the crop side of the family’s operation. Sustainability and a continuous effort to leave the land in better shape for the next generation drive their crop rotation strategy.

“I think it’s important to keep that generational role,” said Mark Lehenbauer. “One of the things that is extremely important to me is sustainability. My grandpa used to teach me the importance of erosion control, even 20-30 years ago when he was still around. It’s our responsibility to leave the ground in as good of shape or better shape than what we currently have it today.”

Amy, a third generation farmer, runs the cattle side of Lehenbauer Farms. Allowing her children to be actively involved in the farm from a young age is an important part of their farm values.

“It’s really neat to see them find their niche and where they fit in on the farm,” said Amy Lehenbauer. “In particular, our son is really interested in the machinery side and the row crop operation, where my girls are more interested in the cattle operation.”

Their values are evident throughout each part of the diversified operation. As they continue to move forward with multiple generations on the farm, they focus on innovation, profitability and sustainability when looking for new opportunities. But at the end of the day, the goal is to produce a quality product for their consumers.

“As a mom, I’m keeping in mind that ultimately what we’re doing is producing a product for the consumer,” said Amy Lehenbauer. “We want it to be the best quality that we can.”

While they tend to struggle with some soil types found in northeast Missouri, Mark has found that focusing on soybeans in their crop rotation strategy is key. Their farm location lends itself nicely to soybean production with close proximity to multiple soybean crush facilities, as well as the Mississippi River for export. From a geographic standpoint, planting soybeans just makes sense.

Their farming philosophy focuses on more than just their farm, but agriculture throughout the state and across the nation. Mark and Amy are committed to sharing their philosophy and giving back beyond their farm gate. Among many of their outreach commitments, Mark leads the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council’s education committee, and Amy represents her fellow farmers on the U.S. Meat Export Federation Board on behalf of the Missouri Soybean Association.

“It’s a lifestyle; it’s a value system,” said Amy. “It’s raising our families on the farm with the values of hard work, responsibility and honesty that we all value and all want for our children and the next generation.”