Mike & Kim Wilkens
Customers Since 2005
Why we chose agriculture
Mike: I’ve always wanted to be a farmer. I’m a fifth-generation farmer. I’ve never wanted to do anything else – I feel like I’m really living my dream.
Kim: I grew up on a farm in Texas, went to Texas A&M and moved to Nebraska to work for a grain elevator. I now work in ag equipment manufacturing and help on the farm. Agriculture is in our blood. It’s a great way to raise a family.
How we keep up to speed with modern agriculture
We teach our daughters how important it is to study, and we try to lead by example. We’re always reading farm magazines and watching ag programs on TV. (Mike) I still have my Certified Crop Adviser license so I stay informed on crop inputs, diseases, the latest technologies, etc.
We study the markets and subscribe to several newsletters that provide daily updates and let us know what’s happening in the world. A bad report from China or Brazil can impact our markets, so it’s important we understand what’s going on. We have little control over our prices, so we have to study and be on top of it. We also have to know what our cost of production is so we sell above it in order to make a profit.
Our greatest challenge
Crop prices can be a challenge and weather is a constant battle. We can go from too wet to no rain at all; luckily, we have irrigation.
In 2014, 90 percent of our crops were hailed out. We had damage to our house and it was so frustrating to have no crops that summer. The day after the storm, our financial officer brought us water while we were cleaning up. Having crop insurance was a huge relief. FCSAmerica got adjusters out right away and walked us through everything. They keep great records, so the process was smooth.
Our business approach
Our business approach is very family-oriented. We want to grow, but we want to be able to handle our acres ourselves. We try to balance a long-term vision while keeping our eyes on what’s happening now. We started with little to nothing and have always made purchases based on efficiency.
How we know we’re heading in the right direction
It starts with the numbers. We watch our financial ratios closely and we’ve steadily grown in acres. We get compliments on the way our crops look, and people have come to us to rent their land. If you do things right, it pays off.
Why we work with FCSAmerica
We’ve enjoyed their people. Our financial officer is a big part of why we came to FCSAmerica and why we stay. He’s a valued partner in our business. He’s not a crop insurance expert, but he has someone right there in the office he can use as a resource.
We appreciate being a customer-owner and receiving a cash-back dividend check at the end of the year. We have a voice in the organization and can vote on the board of directors.
FCSAmerica has been there for us throughout the last 10 years – through some struggles but also through good times. Having their support and knowing they’re backing us up is a good feeling.