John & Jana Heilman
Grain & Beef Producers
Customer since 1993
Why I chose agriculture
I always knew I wanted to farm. I started crop-sharing with my grandpa while I was in high school. I’ve been farming with my dad since I graduated high school in 1993. He helped me start, and we’ve had a good working relationship for many years.
Our greatest challenge
Weather – in 2008 we finished combining corn the 15th of December and the high temperature that day was zero. It was even worse in 2009. There are never two years that are the same.
My business approach
We’ve always tried to be diversified. My dad is cautious and I’ve always taken his advice to be cautious, too. My grandpa’s theory was anyone could make money; it takes someone smart to hang onto it.
Our vision for the operation
We hope to get the next generation back to the operation as many generations have before. It looks hopeful at this point. We plan to stay diversified. About 10 years ago, we started to focus more on feeding cattle as a result of the ethanol industry giving us incentive to do so.
Raising kids on the farm
I feel lucky we get to raise our kids in the country. I want to teach them to have a good work ethic. There is more and more technology in agriculture, and I can’t believe how well kids pick it up. They are definitely the generation ready to handle the technology.
What I’ve learned
I’ve learned I need to adapt to change. You can make a plan, but it doesn’t usually turn out the way you expected. We need to be able to adapt to challenges from things like weather and technology.
What I enjoy most about farming
Every day is different. I might spray, go make hay or do bookwork. The variety makes it fun. I’m passionate about growing good corn. It’s exciting to plant in the spring and watch the corn grow all year. Harvest is a fun season to bring in what we worked on all year. I enjoy feeding cattle, too. They line up at the bunk to greet me every morning – just the way they did the day before.
Interests outside of farming
We enjoy camping and boating as a family. When I was a kid, Dad and I fixed up a tractor and I pulled it in competition 20 years ago. Last Fourth of July, we got the tractor out again. My son pulled it and got first place. It goes to show traditions live on.
Why we work with FCSAmerica
I’ve been with FCSAmerica since 1993 when I rented my first farm. I’ve gotten good advice and the people are very friendly. We get competitive interest rates and cash-back dividends. They specialize in agriculture and care about what I care about. I don’t know why we’d go anywhere else.