When John Beetz’s great-great-grandfather came to America from Germany in the mid-1800s, he worked as a longshoreman in New York. Then he turned to farming the fertile soil in north central Illinois.
Succeeding generations built on their ancestor’s legacy. And today, Beetz and other members of his extended family farm 8,000 acres near Mendota in LaSalle County. In fact, they operate one of the largest farms in the state. Yet they remain dependent on federal farm subsidies.