Jerry & Sandy Hurd
Grain & Livestock Producers, Retired
Storm Lake, IA
Customer since 1976
Why we chose agriculture
I lived on a farm until the age of 12 when my father died, but it was long enough to get agriculture in my blood. I was a banker in Minneapolis in 1973 when my father-in-law invited my wife, Sandy, and me to farm with him. It wasn’t even a decision. Farming is all we’ve ever wanted to do.
What we’ve learned
We bought our first 80 acres in 1976 with Sandy’s brother – six months later it was worth a third of what we paid for it. We spent 14 years getting back to even. We started farming on our own in 1983. During the farm crisis, we bought some inexpensive used equipment. As hard as those times were, there is always opportunity with adversity.
Our business approach
We didn’t want to get larger than what we could handle ourselves. I remember a time when Sandy, our four kids and I were hauling bales; after a while our daughter sat down, sighed and declared she had had all the family bonding she could stand. This is a family business.
Raising kids on the farm
We intentionally gave our kids responsibilities and opportunities to make and learn from mistakes. When they were young I told them what to do. As they got older, I asked them what they thought we should do. Eventually they learned how to prioritize and do the most important work first.
The future of our operation
Transition planning has been important to us and our financial officer at FCSAmerica has played a big role. I watched neighbors and friends struggle to transition the farm to the next generation. I saw dads hanging on too long. I haven’t planted a kernel of corn since the day my son, Andy, came home from Iowa State.
Our dream has always been to have a farm to pass on, so it was important to do the transition right. We attended a two-day succession planning course at Iowa State that helped us all communicate with each other. Now Sandy and I are just land owners. I run the combine in the fall and the field cultivator in the spring and help out how I can. My two sons complement each other well – they are good farm managers. We’re very proud of them.
Why we work with FCSAmerica
FCSAmerica has been an integral part of our operation. We started with commercial banks and we know the difference. FCSAmerica has the best ag financial minds available. The people in the office are happy and helpful. I’m fairly aggressive, while my wife Sandy and our financial officer are more conservative, so we balance each other well. We’ve made good decisions, learned from mistakes, stuck out our neck, and our financial officer has supported us through it all.