How Thies Farm Has to Adjust to Climate Change

22 Nov

The struggles and bonuses of climate change on St. Louis’ Thies Farm.

Since 1991, Thies Farm has been located in St. Louis County ( Maryland Heights). Sitting on over 100 acres of land, Thies Farm grows all of their food locally. What is the reason why?
Saving energy and making money. Per their website, the reason why they grow their products on site is to keep their transportation at a minimum.
The EPA says that 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse emissions are caused by tractors and off road machinery.
“They are too expensive,” Darrell Thies, owner of Thies Farm said about the price of solar and electric tractors.
Prices for an electric tractor that is compact, the base (or most basic) racks up to be just under $27,000. This compact tractor is produced by Solectrac.
A diesel engine tractor is still pricey, but John Deere has a compact tractor, their tractor runs anywhere from $13,000-$16,000. At minimum, using a diesel tractor saves $11,000 at purchase.
“ We save energy by growing locally…Everybody is going to have to gradually move to electric (tractors) over the next 10 years.” Thies said. However, with the cost the way it is, small and local farms won’t be able to afford electric machines.
Something as simple as adding solar panels to a normal size house can cost thousands of dollars. That can hurt smaller companies like Thies Farm.
On the revenue side, Thies farm sells all sorts of fruits and vegetables. On their website it even shows a chart of what fruits and vegetables are good during certain parts of the year.
From April- mid-June, customers can find asparagus, spinach, and even bedding plants. Once July hits, customers can find greens like cabbage and lettuce.
In the fall months, Thies Farm sells pumpkins and sweet potatoes along with other fruits and vegetables that can survive the cold.
However, the most interesting time of year is winter. From the middle of November until the end of the year, Thies Farm sells Christmas Trees and Poinsettias.
When going into the store, the prices on some foods can be cheaper than the grocery store. For instance, cabbage at Thies Farm currently is 75 cents per pound, at a local grocery store like Schnucks, cabbage runs at 84 cents per pound.
Even though 8 cents doesn’t seem like a lot, especially restaurants would buy pounds and pounds of cabbage saving 8 cents a pound. At 12 and a half pounds, a person or restaurant can save over a dollar. There are a lot of perks to being small farmers, but the environment is suffering from it.
The problem here isn’t that small farmers don’t want to go environmentally friendly, but that it is too expensive for small farmers to afford it.

One Response to “How Thies Farm Has to Adjust to Climate Change”

  1. rubinb2565 November 24, 2021 at 4:31 pm #


    Brian: As the climate changes local farm, Thies Farm also has to change. They sell different fruits and vegetables such as plums, potatoes and even grapes. In recent years Thies Farm has been affected by climate change

    Darrell: We haven’t had a hail that bad in decades. It is not like it hasn’t hailed but when it hails it covers the ground and shreds it like lettuce. There is no coming back from that; you just have to start over.

    Brian: The hail storm knocked out 2/3 of their crops within days. Thies Farm has been open since 1991, in their Maryland Heights location. And they continue to adjust every single year.

    Darrell: Well we save energy by growing locally, which is a big deal right now with all the trucking.

    Brian: By decreasing their trucking, Thies Farm has also been able to decrease their carbon footprint making sure that our produce is as clean as possible. Even though Thies Farm is a business trying to combat climate change, there are still things people can do to combat the same issues.

    Darrell: You can see it doesn’t take long

    Brian: For the Webster Journal, I’m Brian Rubin

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