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The Bieber Century Farm
Future Generations Become Familiar with the Family Farm
The George T. Bieber LLC Century Farms are considered legacy assets for the current family as well as future generations. The more than 800 acres in Rock and Pipestone Counties in Minnesota are mostly planted to corn and soybeans with some pasture. The family land has been under Farmers National Company's (FNC) management since 1970 and has been owned by family members for over 100 years. The family first came to FNC based on the recommendation of a family member.
Kenton Burns, one of the owners of the George T. Bieber LLC farms, considers FNC to be a one-stop management service for non-operating landowners. When asked what he would say to someone considering utilizing FNC's services, Mr. Burns replied, "Farmers National Company and our farm manager are very responsive, accountable, and customer-oriented. They manage the properties responsibly so we can hand them over to future generations."
This past summer Rick Gullickson, farm manager, spent the day with the Bieber family and captured this great photo of several generations of the family. The clients had their children come too so they can keep them posted on what is going on with the land. The family had this monument (quarried from Sioux Quartzite about three miles away at the Jasper Quarry) proudly engraved and displayed on one of the properties to commemorate the Bieber family homestead and founding of a Century Farm!
Dating back to the first clients of FNC in 1929, helping families develop legacy assets for their current and future generations has been one of the focus areas for FNC. Today, with over 1,600 client farms under management for over 25 years; 250 client farms under management for over 50 years; and even five client farms under management for over 85 years, the company is proud of the service it provides to help clients preserve and pass on family history while managing the land to improve and protect it for future generations.
The Greiser Family
Building a Land Legacy
The Greiser Farm has been in the family since the early 1900s. Sandra's husband passed away and the farm is now held in an LLC with Sandra and the next generation of her children involved. Their farm manager with another company was retiring and recommended Farmers National Company. Sandra states, "Farmers National Company has done an excellent job of managing the farm, especially after the passing of my husband."
The next generation of the family enjoys working with their farm manager John Benz. The Greisers enjoy receiving the high quality reports and seeing the crop progress photos each year. Sandra's son Tom stated, "The ease of continuity for managing our farm after the passing of my father was extremely helpful." He also likes Farmers National Company's grain marketing plan to capitalize on the highs in the grain markets as it has worked very well for them. The farm manager living in the local area is another plus as he knows the area's soil types, land improvements, and crop conditions.
The Greiser family shares that they would highly recommend Farmers National Company farm management services, especially if the landowner has multiple generations of the family involved. One of the key considerations for the Greisers to go with Farmers National Company was the trustworthiness and ethics of the company.
The Pool Family
Successful Land Succession
Over the years, Farmers National Company (FNC) has encouraged many ag and forest landowners to have plans for a successful succession of their assets. Many of our clients take pride in being able to prepare the next generation to be good stewards of the land they inherit and have had in the family for several generations.
One such FNC Forest Resource Management Division (FRMD) client is Matt Pool and his sister Molly Pool Cheves, who own 516 acres of timberland in East Texas. The family has owned the property through four generations, providing strong active oversight since 1888!
The property was never really managed as a timber farm until the 1980s when some of the property was cleared and planted to pine seedlings. In 1992, the family hired a professional forester to oversee a thorough cutting/thinning/replanting of the whole property, including the installation of roads and culverts for stream crossings.
In March of 2010, Matt and Molly hired James Houser Consulting Foresters LLC (JHCF) (now part of Farmers National Company) to evaluate the timber for recommendations on best timber management. JHCF's Jimmy McNamara's recommended thinning most of the timber and re-planted tracts that were clear-cut.
In February of 2017, Mr. Pool contacted FRMD's Jimmy and asked him to again evaluate the property and make a recommendation, which led to the latest thinning. Indeed, the biggest saw logs were those planted by Mr. Pool's grandfather Lewis back in the 1980s and were now 37 years old. The tract is now composed of several different stands with timber of various ages, which allows harvest and replant every 7 to 10 years.
Mr. Pool states, "It gives me great satisfaction to know how the property came to me and Molly, that it was loved and maintained, and that it will be a great blessing to the Pool and Cheves families for years to come. It makes me so thankful that my dad, and his dad before him, chose to take the 'long view'. It is a lesson I take to heart and hope to pass along to my children as well."
Matt and Molly are the third generation owners with their children being the fourth generation owners.
The Fleming Family
Through the Generations
The Fleming Family's multi-generational farming assets total just over 3,300 acres in Warren County, Indiana. They raise corn, soybeans, and a small amount of hay. The family found Farmers National Company (FNC) through their FNC farm manager, John Mandeville, AFM, based out of West Laffayette, Indiana. Mr. Fleming shared: "John was our farm manager at a previous company and we were very pleased with his work. When John made the decision to move to Farmers National Company, we decided to go with him." John has worked with various generations of the Fleming Family for 31 years now.
When asked what they like most about Farmers National Company, the family stated: "Foremost, we remain very pleased with John Mandeville and all the advice and work he has put into our farms over the years. We also appreciate that Farmers National Company is dedicated to farm management and that they provide a full range of associated services such as monthly reports, grain and land price projections, crop insurance, tax and depreciation information, tenant lease management, etc. In addition, they have advised us with land purchases and large capital projects by locating the best available mortgage terms and providing data on the projected financial benefits."
We are grateful that the Fleming family chose John and FNC to manage their farms. We also sincerely appreciate that they have recommended Farmers National Company to other landowners and are willing to continue to do so as they have had an overwhelmingly positive experience.
Building a Land Legacy
Soon after his retirement, Mr. Lee Okeson attended a Farmers National Company (FNC) landowner workshop in the Chicago area. He already owned some land, but purchased additional land in Iowa after the workshop. Living in California, he felt that he could benefit from help in the management of his land.
He decided to use FNC on both the newly purchased farm as well as land he already owned in Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. According to Mr. Okeson, "It was the best thing I ever did." Today his farms produce corn, soybeans, and sugar beets.
Mr. Okeson, who has experience in managing rentals and other properties, said, "I realized my weakness in managing farmland was determining the rental rates on the farm ground. A strong point of FNC is their ability to determine a fair lease rate." Mr. Okeson says he gains a lot of information on what is happening in the market, both up and down, from the farm managers taking care of his land in each state.
"I have three farm managers on my farms and they all work well together," commented to Mr. Okeson. A value of FNC's service is the consistent and comprehensive approach utilized on all farms and ranches under management, no matter where they are located.
Over the years, Mr. Okeson has also utilized the real estate brokerage services provided by FNC, using 1031 exchanges to obtain additional farmland. On a recent transaction, he found some very suitable farmland in the Red River Valley that was for sale by another firm. The quandary for Mr. Okeson was the pricing of the ground. He decided he needed assistance. He contacted his FNC farm manager/real estate sales professional Eric Skolness, AFM, ALC, who manages land in that area. "Eric worked on my behalf to get a successful sale taking into account land values, depreciation, etc. This resulted in me getting the best purchasing price," reports Mr. Okeson.
When asked how he might describe the advantages of working with FNC, he responded: "One of the major components is the competent representation when negotiating up-to-date lease rates. The overseeing of the farm operators and the reports provided are great. This organization is very accessible from the President/Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, to the individual farm managers. Their website gives a good indicator of what is occurring in the farm real estate marketplace."
He further clarifies, "Due to my background, I am very proactive in my research, and Farmers National Company has the information I am looking for. Our family's original farm ownership still exists after 126 years." Mr. Okeson, who was Deputy Director of Planning for the City of San Diego prior to his retirement in the mid 1990s, has been to every one of Farmers National Company's yearly landowner meetings since then except one!
Jim Farrell, FNC President and CEO, has known Lee since he first became a client. "It has been a pleasure to work with Lee over the years and watch him grow his farm portfolio! We are pleased to be able to assist him and his family as they continue their farmland legacy."
Iowa and Illinois
Four Generations Strong
John Wilson of Wilson Farms, Broomfield, Colorado, owns over 2,200 acres of quality row crop farmland in Iowa and Illinois. In 1982 his family formed a family limited partnership to ease accountings issues, but they needed help with the management of the property. A Farmers National Company representative visited Mr. Wilson when he was a practicing attorney, a relationship began, and he has been a client since.
Mr. Wilson states that the methodical on-site management, highly functional and efficient reporting, critical attention to operational detail, excellent and detailed accounting, and innovative practices like our seed corn practices on both farms has been the mainstay of the 33 years of farm management.
According to Mr. Wilson: "I travel a lot and run into numerous people who have farms that don't fully understand what the market conditions are, and they don't understand what is happening on their farms." As he visits with these folks, he asks what their method of verification is to ensure their farm is being taken care of outside of what the operator tells them. He suggests having Farmers National Company do a preliminary look at their farm to see what can be done. Mr. Wilson says: "FNC's managers always look after our farms like it is their own even though we are the owners and have the final say."
Mr. Wilson reports: "Even with prices falling by half and overheads staying the same, we are able, with the assistance of Farmers National Company, to show a nice profit on our farms. We brought our kids along several years ago to meet with the operators and farm managers on the actual farms. We are approaching our fifth generation involved in the farm and our kids are now very involved in the operations due to the onsite visits they had with Farmers National Company on the farms."
Farmers National Company is grateful and appreciates the long-term relationship we have with Mr. Wilson and his family!
Range of Resources Provided at FNC Meets Client's Needs
William Laubernds was responsible for acquiring 11 square miles of corn and soybean land in Vermillion County, Indiana, on behalf of Vermilion Rise Mega Park, a not-for-profit county industrial park. Once the property was acquired, it had a lot of deferred maintenance. Vermillion Rise needed a company with a broad range of expertise to help manage the property, and current clients of Farmers National Company (FNC) recommended the company. Vermillion Rise developed a multi-year improvement plan and sat down with the professionals at FNC to begin implementing the plan.
According to Mr. Laubernds, "A lot depended on getting the right farm manager and the right type of operator to farm the ground to get to the correct nutrient levels as well as control drainage. It was amazing the difference it has made being with Farmers National Company. We were fortunate they had experienced people on hand to meet our needs."
In addition to the professional farm management services utilized by Vermillion Rise, they also use the Hunting Lease Network, a division of FNC specializing in hunting leases. Mr. Laubernds states: "The hunting situation was one of our biggest headaches. We are very happy with the Hunting Lease Network as hunters know the rules and abide by the rules. We are very happy and the neighbors are very happy."
Vermillion Rise's goal is to improve their ground and get the expertise needed to meet their goals. They like that FNC has a broad range of resources available to meet their needs, from drainage to farm management to hunting. Vermillion Rise meets regularly with FNC to continually review goals to ensure everything is on track. In Mr. Laubernds words: "Farmers National Company is very willing to sit down and meet our needs and goals. The coordination of all contractors on our drainage projects has helped immensely. Our revenue has increased dramatically and hiring Farmers National Company has been a really great choice for us!"
Walter and Irene Kolman
After feeling confident, we decided to put the farm up for auction with Tom. He made the process very easy for us and it turned out very good. We were very pleased how everything went so smoothly and quickly considering we communicated through phone and email only. The only regret we have is we weren't able to thank Tom in person for all his hard work. We would highly recommend Farmers National if you need help selling or renting land."
A Trusted Relationship
Dr. Erick Albert
Making a Difference on the Farm
Farmers National Company is making a difference for Dr. Erick Albert. Through the efforts of Farmers National Company, Dr. Albert has experienced increased profitability from his Illinois farm. Additional income is now being generated by his farm from a hunting lease obtained by the Hunting Lease Network of Farmers National Company. Through the diligent efforts of Dr. Albert's farm manager, real estate taxes were reduced. Improved farming practices recommended by the farm manager have also increased farm profits.
"My farm manager is very thorough in taking care of my farm and looking after my interests. He communicates with me throughout the year keeping me well informed on everything I need to know. I am happy with my association with Bret Cude and have recommended the services of Farmers National Company to others."
Mike, Michon, and Shirley Marcil
A Professional Sale
The Marcil family had wored with Farmers National Company previously and when they were ready to sell some land in Iowa, they again turned to the land professionals to bring about a successful sale.
"We were impressed by the turnout at the auction. Farmers National Company's advertising and mailings really worked. They drew the buyers who needed to be there and we received top dollar for the land."
"Our Farmers National Company agent guided us through the whole process. Everything was professionally handled from when we started to after the sale. Our agent and the auctioneer kept the bidding active and fair. The auction went well and everyone had the opportunity to purchase the land. We wouldn't have been able to conduct as fair or as successful an auction if Farmers National Company hadn't been involved."
For the Marcil family, the land professionals at Farmers National Company made all the difference when they sold their farm.
Madie Ivy Head
Love for the Land
Madie Ivy Head grew up on a Texas Ranch. Her parents instilled in her a love for the land that she carries with her today. As her parents aged and the ranch passed to the next generation, it became increasingly difficult to look after the land. In 2010, Ivy sought help to analyze what needed to be done with the ranch to bring it back up to the quality operation that it had been.
"I turned to the Farmers National Company team of ranch managers to help me with professional ranch management. The managers had the education and expertise to evaluate my ranch and handle it correctly. They bring their hands-on, boots-on-the-ground approach to managing water and grass assets on my ranch. The managers first did an analysis of what it would take to get my land back up to being a top-tier ranch. They then handled the improvement projects and kept me informed throughout." Today Ivy is moving ahead with the management plan developed for her ranch by the FNC ranch managers. Ivy has invested in 17 miles of new fencing and other improvements that will have the ranch in good shape for the next generation of her family. The managers have instituted a good cattle lease and are working to improve hunting and fishing revenues. "My Farmers National Company managers have a love for the land just like I do. They know ranching and it has made all the difference on my Kaliko Ranch."
Minna Lou Mercer
Farmland is a Good Investment through the Generations
Minna Lou Mercer never lived on a farm, but over the decades, her family has instilled into each succeeding generation the importance of owning farmland. "My mother had a very strong attachment to the land her grandfather had farmed, including land that had been in the family since the Civil War. For 70 years she told me 'don't sell the home place!'"
Knowing that she can't manage the farms herself, Minna Lou turns to Farmers National Company and her two managers to take care of everything for her from leasing to financial reporting and everything in between. "I am really happy with the job everyone at Farmers National Company is doing for me. They consult with me regularly and they all are responsive to my needs."
Minna Lou believes farmland is a good, solid investment for her. She is continuing the family tradition as she includes her daughters Michelle and Liane in on the importance of farmland to their family. Minna Lou appreciates that Farmers National Company is looking out after her best interests today and will be taking great care of the farms for the generations to come.
Ty and Mary Olsen
Trust in the Business of Farming
Farmland ownership is important to Ty and Mary Olsen. Their goals include good-long term stewardship of their land as well as turning a profit in each year of operation. The Olsen's place their trust in John Mandeville, their Farmers National Company Farm Manager, to take care of the land and to run the farming business carried on there.
"John is a pleasure to work with. Our farms are operated under custom farming arrangements with two operators, with whom John works to make crop plans and to get crops planted and harvested. He monitors crop conditions during the growing season and markets the grain from the farms. Over the years, he has improved soil and drainage conditions on the farms. He has produced excellent results for us, and we are very satisfied with the management of our farms. John communicates often with us, and we learn something every time we talk!"
Val McPherson and Viki Kugler
Managing the Family Heritage
Lancaster County, Nebraska, landowners Val McPherson and Viki Kugler represent the third generation of ownership of the family farm. "Dad loved the land, he enjoyed going to the farm, walking on the land, and just spending time there," said Mr. McPherson. "Dad instilled in both of us the desire to take good care of the farm and leave it in better shape than we found it for the next generation. Dad would be very pleased with how my sister and I have been able to handle the farm working through Farmers National Company to not only maintain the land, but to improve it as well."
As children, Val and Viki would visit the farm with their parents, so they have some knowledge of agriculture. When they became the stewards of the farm, they knew they needed professional help and they turned to Farmers National Company (FNC). At FNC, they work with Doug Hansen, AFM, Senior Farm Manager. According to Mr. McPherson, "We both really appreciate Doug's help as he has been instrumental in using farm programs to design conservation projects to improve our property. We currently have terracing and tile projects on the farm to improve the soil and productivity. Through Doug's help, we removed an old building site adding productive acres."
Val McPherson and Viki Kugler have recently converted the ownership from a C Corporation to S Corporation. Changing the ownership structure along with quality stewardship of the farm will make it better for the next generation.
Ron and Ruthe Meter
"It takes a lifetime to build a dream!"
"When the time came to change our farmland to a retirement fund, we needed expert advice, the experience of a nationwide sales company, and the expertise of a top-notch sales staff. We chose Jay Johnson with Farmers National Company to represent us in selling our farm in Alliance, Nebraska, and were confident that he was honest, trustworthy, reliable, and very professional.
Jay rose to the challenge and the end result of the sale of our ag aland was extremely gratifying. Mr. Johnson represented himself and his company with pride and integrity, and we would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone desiring to sell or buy real estate."
John and June Simon
Farmland as a Long-term Investment
John and June Simon bought their first farm in 1990 through the assistance of the local Farmers National Company (FNC) agent. FNC staff worked diligently with the Simons to review the farms and evaluate each for investment quality. This was vitally important for the Simons because they were using hard earned money from other investments to buy their first farm. After careful consideration, Farmers National Company was the one they trusted to help them make the purchase.
Over the years, several additional farms have been purchased to add to the farmland portfolio of the Simons. John and June turn to the trusted professionals at Farmers National Company to manage their farm investment because of the hands-on, local expertise of the farm managers. The accounting statements not only serve the needs of the Simons, but also make their tax accountant extremely happy.
John and June are very pleased with their farmland investments. Farmers National Company has been beside them from the beginning, assisting them in buying and managing each farm so that they are profitable and enjoyable to own.
Dan and Charol Pleiss
FNC Helps Make the Farm Investment Profitable
Dan Pleiss, CPA, knows numbers and how business investments work. When it came time to invest in farmland, Dan and Charol turned to Farmers National Company for guidance in making farm ownership profitable.
"My first introduction to Farmers National Company was through my father-in-law who worked at Farmers National Company for over 30 years. With the assistance of Farmers National Company, my wife and I made a farm investment. It was only fitting that we would continue to use their services to manage the farm investment. We have been very pleased with the results. The farm manager is available to answer questions regarding farm operations and grain marketing. The annual landowner workshops help to keep the landowner up to date on topics pertinent to the farming operations."
John S. Wilson
Managing General Partner
Wilson Farms, Ltd.
Security, Improvements, and Increased Profits
Landowners have many reasons for turning to Farmers National Company for help with their farms. Nearly three decades ago, the Wilson family turned to Farmers National Company for security, improvement of the farms, and increased profits.
"Over the 28 ensuing years since making our decision to employ Farmers National Company, we have profited with this management organization as a result of their recommendations.
Presently, all our farms have now been completely converted to written, custom farming leases, as a result of spreadsheet analysis by our managers, which showed the greatest potential return, with managed risk, for our overall operation. We have benefited from other improvements which were all suggested by our farm managers.
Farmers National Company, through their on-site managers and their expertise, has made many things possible for our family, including education of our children, comfortable retirement, and an overall feeling of security that we are well represented as absentee owners of our farmland in Iowa and Illinois. We feel quite confident that our children will inherit an extremely well-managed farm operation."
Mike and Suzanne Palmer
"Our family began farming in Nebraska back in the 1840s. The land passed down through Suzanne's grandfather William Straub, all the way to our children - the fifth generation to own farmland in Nebraska. It's been just about 50 years since Suzanne's father, Dwight Perkins, recognized the outstanding farm management offered by Farmers National Company and began working with them - to his great satisfaction. We have happily relied on them ever since.
We live in Colorado and don't get back to Nebraska often; but thanks to Farmers National we have absolute confidence that our farms are being managed according to the highest professional standards. Through the years, Farmers National has done consistently excellent work on every aspect of farm operations. We particularly appreciate the dedicated, friendly, personal service we've always received, the clear detailed explanations of complex agricultural issues, and the depth of experience and knowledge that underlies everything they do. In addition, their long-term commitment to conservation of the land is impressive -- and reassuring for the future.
The help and expertise of Bernie Winter and Rich Hickman have been invaluable in many, many ways and we truly can't thank them enough.
If it were not for Farmers National, it would be impossible for us to continue to maintain our family's Nebraska farming heritage. We are grateful for all that Farmers National has done for us, and we recommend them without reservations."
Ted and Fran Hiemstra
"Over 70 years ago, Fran's grandfather Judge Frank Munday was wise enough to see the value in purchasing Nebraska farmland. When the farms were passed along to our generation from Fran's parents, we tried managing our farms from Seattle for a few years, but we just weren't confident that we were being good stewards of Judge Munday's legacy.
After a visit to Nebraska in 2003, we began to consider hiring a professional farm management company. We were intrigued by the number of advantages: marketing expertise, up-to-date leasing contracts, active management of the land with an eye to environmentally sound farming practices, possible improvement of return on investment through 1031 exchanges, and "ease of mind" provided by Farmers National Company.
FNC assigned managers for each of our farms and we began a long-distance relationship. One of the major changes was FNC's recommendation to sell two of the low-returning farms and purchase a higher quality farm through a 1031 exchange. Our return-on-equity is much improved and we're very pleased with Farmers National. Our managers keep us informed with frequent reports, phone calls, and emails. We are confident that we're being much better stewards of the land and the Munday legacy. We're excited about educating our adult children, as the land will someday pass on to them."
"My father grew up on a farm near Genoa, Nebraska, and farmed there until the early 1930s. He later settled in Omaha where he married my mother and began investing in farmland in Nance and Platte Counties after the end of World War II. He initially managed the farms himself, but later turned them over to Farmers National and was very pleased with your service. When I inherited the farms, I continued our family's reliance on Farmers National to manage the farms.
Farming has become far more involved since my dad's days of farming with horses. Today's crop yields couldn't be imagined then and required careful attention to seed, fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide application rates by the farm manager to maintain optimum production. In addition, he must also work with the local FSA offices to keep abreast of various government programs. We also depend on the Omaha office for finding the best rates for crop, irrigation equipment, and general liability insurance. Another Omaha office necessity for us is all the accounting of receipts and expenses for operating the farms.
It was my parent's hope that we would continue operating the farms; and because we live in Massachusetts, we have come to depend on Farmers National and are confident that our family's investment in farming is in good care."
Margaret Donnelly McLeod
Los Angeles, California
"The comprehensive reports that you send regularly are very helpful and informative, but meeting with you personally affords us the added opportunity to ask questions and clarify concerns.
Historically, my Great Aunt and Uncle, Elisabeth and George Bishop, were the first of our family to own the farms. The farms eventually came to me via the Donnelly Trust. My four adult children, now the trustees, are the fourth generation of family owners!
Farmers National Company has been managing the farms and advising us ever since I can remember. We have had a long and successful relationship. We have enjoyed visits to the farms. I find it interesting to note that as we are generational owners, the farmers seem to be generational tenants as well.
As we do not live in Nebraska, it is imperative that we have knowledgeable managers and advisors on whom we can rely. Our long relationship with Farmers National Company has more than met those criteria."
Las Vegas, Nevada
"The farm has been in my family for 117 years and can be traced back to the original purchase in 1852. In 1948, my grandmother Gaughenbaugh deeded the farm to my mother. At that time, my parents lived 500 miles away from the farm and found it difficult to properly manage it. In July, 1952, my parents signed their first contract with Farmers National Company.
For 54 years we have trusted the Farmers National Company to manage the property and they have been superb in their efforts and diligence. Whether it be finding a tenant when needed, applying for government subsidies, getting the best price for the crops, or handling/fixing an open well; Farmers National has always gone the extra mile to do a great job.
We have recently sold the farm and once again, Farmers National Company was indispensable in getting this accomplished. Not living in Iowa, when we made the decision to sell we had no idea how to go about it. I called our farm manager and he set the 'ball' in motion. From my perspective, from that point on, the process was smooth and seamless with an outstanding result! Thank you Farmers National for all that you've done for my family over the last 54 years."
More Information on Client Referrals
For more information on Farmers National Company, or to visit with a client located close to your farm, just give Matt Gunderson, Assistant Vice President - Client Relations, a call at 1-800-346-2650, or complete the additional information request.