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Thank You Farmers Project

Family Farmer and Restaurant Owner: The Best of Both Worlds

Christopher and Elizabeth with their three kids posing in front of their tractor and corn field

Culver's of Effingham, IL - W Fayette Ave

When Christopher was growing up, he spent countless hours every weekend and summer working alongside his grandpa on the farm. From cutting beans to carrying feed buckets for cows, Christopher remembers his grandpa teaching him the importance of taking care of the land and how he hoped the family would continue to work the farm for generations to come.

It is a dream that lives on today as Christopher, a third-generation farmer, works with his wife, Elizabeth, and his aunt, uncle, mom and dad to manage the farm. It takes the whole family pitching in to make sure the operation runs smoothly, which is something Christopher is already teaching to his three sons.

Chris Debolt and his son walking to the tractor.

“That’s what a family farm is,” said Christopher. “It’s about the whole family working together to carry on the tradition of the farmers who worked the land before you to make sure it is there for future generations.”

Today, 95 percent of the 2.1 million farms in the United States are family-owned.

When he’s not working on the family farm, Christopher and Elizabeth can be found at their restaurant in Effingham, Illinois. As a farmer, restaurant owner and former FFA member, Christopher is passionate about teaching his community about agriculture.

Chris Debolt on his farm.

His and Elizabeth’s restaurant supports local FFA chapters through fundraising events, and they offer team members the chance to come out to the farm to learn what it’s like so that they can see the level of dedication that goes into farming.

One of the biggest lessons Christopher tries to teach people is that farmers do not take the investments they have in their farms lightly, and they do so much to support their communities. As Christopher will say, “family values, traditions and good morals still exist and they’re going to work every day in dirty coveralls, muddy boots and work gloves.”

“I’m lucky to work on the farm my grandparents started.”

“There are so many third-, sixth-, eighth- or twelfth-generation farmers out there. I’m not an oddity. I just happen to be lucky enough to work on a farm that my grandparents started, and own a Culver’s.”

To learn how you, too, can show your appreciation for farmers, visit our Thank You Farmers page. You can also learn more about how two of our franchisees, Carissa and Emily, are making a difference for young farmers in their communities.