Against the Grain


Freshman Levi Kiser falls against the stereotypes of a typical Carmel student by living on a family farm with many types of animals

By Tommy Sneider
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How did you end up working on the farm?
My grandpa used to run it, and then he died of lung cancer, and so my dad took over.

What kind of farm do you own?
The farm is a corn and soybean farm. We do corn in one year and soybean in the other, but we alternate between the fields, so we have both each year. We have 800 acres.

Carmel isn’t known for being the most agricultural area in the state. What is it like living on a farm?
Our farm is actually in Royal Center, Indiana, about an hour away from here. I go up there. We don’t really have fields here, but we have two cows, some chickens and a garden where we grown some sweet corn and other vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.

How is your lifestyle different from others?
Well, I have to do more chores. You have to take care of the animals, and you have to till the fields with the tractor and other equipment.

What types of jobs do you do around the farm?
I mow filter strips, which is grass along the ditches that the government has you plant so that chemicals do not get in the water, with a 15-foot mower. I also disc the fields, which is basically when you get them ready to plant.

What’s the best part of working on a farm?
It’s a lot of fun because you get to ride on ATVs, which are little four-wheel things that you can ride around with.

And the worst?
You have more chores than if you didn’t.

What is the most challenging activity that you need to do on the farm?
The part that is probably most boring is sometimes when you have to disc the fields, you have to go back and forth, and it can get boring.

Describe your usual daily routine when there is work to be done.
I don’t do a ton of it, but my dad gets up early during planting season to plant the field all day basically. Then, you have to have someone fill up the planter when you run out of seed. During the harvest season, if it hasn’t rained, you basically water it. And then, when all of that is done, you have to bring it to the grain bins to dump it and have it put in big storage places. Sometimes you have to run the drier which dries the corn so that when you put it in the bins it stays wet and mold.

Where is your farm?
Royal Center, Indiana. My cousins live up there with their dad and my other cousins who live in Noblesville, and their dad helps. My grandma has a house up there too.

What challenges do you encounter being in a non-farming area?
Well, when Carmel wanted to annex us, there was an ordinance that said you can’t have pigs. We still have them, since they said that as long as nobody complains about them we can keep them.

How does weather affect you and your ability to farm?
If it’s raining, then you can’t really because the ground is too wet, and it’s too muddy. It has to be the perfect weather, which would be where it hasn’t rained in a few days before, and mostly dry. There has to be some rain when you aren’t harvesting, so the crops actually grow.

What do you do during the winter?
During the winter we do not have to do much about it, but in the summer we go up there more than in the spring. Usually, we go every weekend and the summer a few days during the week.

Do you think you will continue to farm as a career in the future?
Possibly when my dad quits, but I don’t know.

How do you think you being a farmer makes you unique?
There’s a lot more experiences that you would not have, more responsibilities sometimes when you drive the big equipment. There’s also a lot of trust involved too.


  • 2 cows
  • 20 chickens
  • 4 cats
  • 5 pot-bellied pigs