At AdFarm, I oversee media strategy, planning and buying for our clients. From radio to web banners, print to sponsorships, television to social media, my team works to find the effective and efficient way to reach farmers with clients’ messages.
One thing that helps me understand farmers’ needs is to be involved in farming decisions as a landowner. Raised on a grain farm in central Illinois, I now own a portion of that farm with my sisters, and also cash rent other farmland with my mother.
This is the first in a series of updates about the progress and challengers on my farmland throughout the crop season. First, let me introduce you to my grower – my cousin – Austin Apgar.
Meet farmer Austin Apgar
Austin, 28, farms in Douglas County, Illinois, just south of Champaign. With a masters’ degree in Agribusiness/Farm Management from the University of Illinois, Austin has been farming for 5 years. After college, Austin spent a few years combining farming with part-time positions at John Deere and the University of Illinois. As his farming operation has grown, today, he concentrates full-time on farming.
Austin was involved in the farm since he was 8 years old, helping his grandfather walk beans as well as riding in the tractor and combine. “I have always wanted to farm and never had any desire to go into any other area of agriculture,” says Austin. “If I didn’t have this opportunity, I would have gone into farm management through some bank or farm management firm.”
Managing multiple landlords
Austin owns about 20 percent of the land he farms. He farmed for 16 different landlords when he started, buying out seven of them over time. Today he works with nine landlords, including six family members and three farm managers. Austin continually looks to buy out more of his landlords — his preferred way to acquire more land — rather than renting more ground for cash rent.
Prepaid inputs in 2009
In 2010, Austin plans to a 50/50 split on corn and beans. He has secured seed, fertilizer, anhydrous, and paid for his herbicide program before the end of last year.
Getting ready for planting
Currently, Austin is cleaning equipment and servicing the tractors in preparation for planting. As soon as the ground dries out, he will start tillage work, fix broken tile, apply fertilizer, and spreading lime that could not be applied last fall.
Stay tuned for an update next month on where Austin is on our 2010 crop.
If you are involved with family farm, how are your cropping decisions made?
Angela Skochdopole brings a deep understanding of the farmer to all the work she does for AdFarm clients. She works from Richmond, Virginia, and you can reach Angie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org