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Indiana Corn Farmer

Adam Howell

“My dad is still very much involved with the farm. I draw on his experience and knowledge.”

Adam Howell
Corn Farmer

Name: Adam Howell
Location: Middletown, Indiana
Years farming: I’ve been making my living here for 11 years, but I grew up on the farm and have been working here for the last 30 years – or since I was old enough to help.
My family: My wife’s name is Keri and we have three daughters. Lauren is six, Lilly is two, and is Anna 8-months-old. We farm with my parents, David and Mary, my brother Aaron and his wife Katy, my sister and brother-in-law Audrey and Mike Behrendt, and sister Amanda Howell, as well as non-family member Doug Biehl and his wife, Jennifer, who have five children.
How I came to be a farmer: I grew up on a farm and probably knew all along that I would eventually farm myself. I did not know that I would come back immediately after college. I went to an Ivy League school and was considering investment banking or consulting. Only late in my senior year did I realize that I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Although I have always enjoyed the “fun” physical part of farming, the draw, even at that age, was to work in a family business that was far more important to me than any other business in which I could have been employed.
The best thing about being a farmer: The best things about farming are the simple things. Our farm is not a traditional Indiana corn and soybean farm where there are two busy seasons that last a total of about three months. We work lots of hours year round, but I am fortunate enough to be working for and with family. In this business we are reminded of our dependence on God daily. This provides constant lessons for young children. No matter what the stresses of surviving and growing a business may be, on any given day we get the opportunity for those to be washed away by a nice looking field, a sunset, or a laughing child that we get to sit with at lunch.
My personal philosophy on farming: I am tired of it being some kind of revelation to people that “farming is a business.” Of course farming is a business -- the business that I personally happen to enjoy and care more about than any other industry. Farm business managers have been working for years to succeed in growing their business and feeding their family from their profits. Modern agriculture is where this has brought us. It is a risky business that we are willing to participate in. Let us pursue these interests and succeed or fail just like any other American business. It is a rare industry in that most of these businesses happen to be multi-generational family businesses. That is an added benefit held over from tradition.

Corn Production in Indiana and the United States
  • Indiana is the fifth-leading corn producer in the nation. $32 billion in corn was marketed by Indiana farmers last year.
  • The corn you commonly see in Indiana farm fields is NOT sweet corn – the kind you eat from the cob or from a can. Most of the corn grown in Indiana is used to feed pigs, cows and chickens.
  • Livestock, poultry and dairy farmers are corn’s biggest customers – using almost six million bushels every year or almost half of the U.S. corn crop.
  • Family farmers grow 90% of America’s corn.
  • Farmers today grow five times more corn than they did in the 1930s and on 20% less land.
  • There are over 3,500 uses for corn. Seventy-five percent of all grocery items contain corn in some form.
  • Per capita corn consumption in the U.S. is approximately 160 pounds.
  • U.S. farmers account for around 40% of the world’s corn production.
  • In the 1930s, a farmer could harvest an average of 100 bushels of corn by hand in a nine-hour day. Today’s combines can harvest 900 bushels of corn per hour – or 100 bushels in less than seven minutes.
  • Corn is beneficial to the environment as it absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen -- just like a rain forest.
  • The average ear of corn has 800 kernels, arranged in 16 rows. One pound of corn contains approximately 1,300 kernels.
  • Indiana ranks second in the U.S. in popcorn production – producing 269 million pounds annually.
  • Corn is the main ingredient in most dry pet food.

For more information about corn farming in Indiana, please visit www.incorn.org

 

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