“What I like the most about it is that nobody tells me what to do,” says John Stenger. “It’s liberating not to have a boss.” John has been farming in Harrison County, West Virginia for almost 40 years. On his farm, which is spread out over several pieces of land near the small town of West Milford, John raises cattle and sheep and a few goats.

John currently farms approximately 1000 acres, some of which is inhabited by his 200 cattle and 200 sheep. Other fields are used for hay or are forested. Although John does not currently have any farm hands, his children often help with chores and larger projects. However, none of the children are currently planning to take over the farm.

Although John does not have any retirement plans, the thought does occasionally cross his mind. However, the thought never stays with him long.

“There was a period about three weeks ago, when I was sick, I had the flu, and I was miserable, John says. “It was cold out. It was zero. And I was thinking “Man, it might be nice to just go to Florida in the wintertime like my dad does.” But as soon as I started feeling better that didn’t seem inviting anymore.”

Hear more from the Stenger family in their own words.