Circle June 27-28 on your calendar. The place to be will be Huntington and Wabash counties in Indiana. “We’re taking the Purdue Farm Management Tour there, and we have four excellent farms to visit,” says Jim Mintert, Purdue University Extension agricultural economist and director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture.
The tour begins at John and Jodi Anson’s farm at 12:30 p.m. EDT on June 27. Anson Farms is at 7411 W. Division Road, Andrews. The second stop is at Dennis Grain and Farms at 3 p.m. at 597 E, 800 N, Huntington. The Master Farmer banquet will be held that night in Huntington.
Diverse business plan
John and Jodi Anson operate a large grain farm with two full-time employees. They also run a large boar stud, using six part-time employees. John took over primary management from his father, Aaron, who still helps part time, but not before John spent 10 years working for Dave and Lynette Walter. The Walters operate D&L Swine Genetics, a commercial boar stud.
“My dad encouraged me to work somewhere else and come back to the farm,” John says. “He stated [that] the farm will always be here, and go out and learn how someone else does things.
“That is what I did, and it ended up being the best thing I could have done. I ended up as partners with the job I picked — it’s how I ended up in the boar stud business.
“My biggest success so far is being a full-time farmer and managing the farm as another generation.”
John is also a seed corn dealer, and Jodi encourages a spirit of cooperation on the farm.
John’s biggest challenge so far is “keeping the farm profitable with the change in commodity prices.” He is the fourth-generation owner. His grandfather Mark Anson was named a Master Farmer in 1968.
Marc, Jack and Bob Dennis are brothers who make up one generation of Dennis Grain and Farms. Each has a son in the operation. They are Marc’s son Jason, Jack’s son Justin and Bob’s son Mitchell. Besides operating a grain elevator, they raise corn, soybeans, wheat and sunflowers.
“All our soybeans are Plenish specialty beans, and our elevator is a hub for others who grow Plenish beans,” Marc explains.
Splitting up labor and management responsibilities has helped the operation, Marc observes. Bob handles spraying and buying inputs, Jack runs the elevator, Marc plants soybeans and takes care of other duties, Justin and Jason handle corn planting, and Mitchell specializes in soil fertility and applying fertilizer.
Loyal employees are also key, Marc says. They include Jeff Scher, Jon Dennis (not related) and Pat Bogan.
“Our mom, Joan, is 90, but still works in the office,” Marc says. “She works with paper records, not computers, but she’s still an important part of who we are.”
The Master Farmer banquet will be held at 6 p.m. at Huntington College on June 27. It’s co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture. To learn more about the tour and banquet, visit purdue.ag/farmtour, and watch the Indiana Prairie Farmer website for more stories, including a story later this week detailing the second day of the tour and two more farms.