December 21, 2023 / 3 minute read
Worth the Work: A Year in Review
It’s that time of year again. The fields are bare. The equipment is stored away. The air is chilly and you’re dreaming of that late summer sun. You’re reflecting on the year: your profits, the harvest, family life and all that the past 12 months brought.
Here at ADS Ag, we’re reflecting, too. This year marked the beginning of our #WorthTheWork campaign. And, we’ve got to say, you’ve blown us away as you’ve shared why your business is #WorthTheWork. We know it’s not easy to do what you do, and we’re inspired by your stories.
Worth the unpredictable
It’s no secret this job takes grit. Things happen that you can’t control. But, getting back up again (and again) is your only option, and the people you lean on are always there to pull you up.
We heard about tornados.
“You know, being on a farm is tough job. We just went through a tornado. We were down in the dumps about it,” Kevin Kalb, Live to Farm partner shared. “But we had our kids and friends pull together and help clean it up. The reason I do this is to pass our farm legacy on to our next generation.”
We heard about hurricanes.
“It’s not been easy. We’ve about been plumb broke and almost lost everything we had. And it was usually from things that were out of our control,” Kevin Matthews, Xtreme Ag Partner reflected. “In 2016-2020, we had three hurricanes, three floods and severe crop loss. Nothing went right. Everybody’s gonna have bad times—we had ‘em. It’s the team of people you keep around you. Your network and your faith are what gets you through the bad times.”
We heard this work is just plain hard.
“Why it’s worth the work? It’s definitely not easy out here anymore. It seems like every year it gets a little more challenging but it’s all about the next generation,” Brooks Cardinal, Live to Farm Partner said. “Between me and my brother, Brandon, we have five boys. The interest they show in the farm drives me to keep doing it and keep working harder, and hopefully pass it on to their generation.”
Worth the sacrifices
Amidst the hardships, your families are shining lights. They provide helping hands on the farm, quick meals in between rounds in the field and smiling faces at the end of a long day. Giving up time with your family is not easy; family businesses require sacrifices from every member.
“Our farm operation is a family operation. It began as a family operation. Every day, I got up with my dad and went to the farm. Every day now I get up with my son and go to the farm. Soon, every day I’ll get up and go to the farm with my son and my grandson,” said Matt Miles, Xtreme Ag Partner. “I owe a lot of what I do today to my wife. When we got married, I didn’t have the money to do some of the things I was doing. She had a savings account, and she took that to make the down payment on our first tractor. If that’s not dedication to a person I don’t know what is. We work side by side in the office, in the field, whatever we’re doing, we’re always side by side. It’s what keeps me going and lets me sleep at night.
This work teaches hard-earned lessons to your kids—ones that can’t be taught online.
“I farm for a lot of different reasons, like my family. One of the main reasons that I enjoy farming is that occasionally I get to take my kids to work with me,” Kendra Brutlag said, bouncing her son on her hip. “I hope that I can instill some passion, hard work, dedication and focus just like I grew up with.”
You told us, time and again, that one of the sweetest rewards is farming with your families; especially with your kids who are grown and choose to farm as their career.
“I am a third-generation farmer. I farm with my dad, my mom, my two sisters and my two brothers. Growing up on the farm is one of my life’s greatest blessings,” JJ Sabolik said. “Being able to work with the family and learn life’s valuable lessons through what farming has to teach you is something that I will forever cherish. Waking up and getting to do what you love, with the people you love, is something pretty cool.”
But, the value of working alongside family didn’t end at farming. Drainage contractors shared the same sentiment.
“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I would have half days at school and couldn’t wait to get to the fields,” said Keith Foco, owner of Foco Farm Drainage & Excavating, LLC. “This is a family business passed down from my grandpa to my father and uncles then on to me. The business even employed my wife’s uncle many years ago. Family is at the center.”
We have a better understanding today of how to care for our land more than any generation before us. We know the value of preserving the soil for the farmers in our families who will come after us. For our employees and drainage contractors, keeping farmers farming is central to what drives them.
"I look at us just like farmers. When you go out there and plant corn or soybeans and you’re planting that crop in the ground, you take pride in what you’re doing in hopes of having a bountiful harvest. The same thing holds true with installing drainage tile,” shared Steve Gerten, owner of Inbody Drainage Company and farmer. “What I take pride in is when we get done with a project, I go by the same fields year after year, and I can see how good the crops looks and how much better the ground is draining.”
Our industry is tight knit; we support each other through the highs and lows. When you reach out to an ADS sales rep or drainage contractor, you find someone who truly has the best interest of your farm and investments in mind.
“I’ve been in the farming and ag-related business all my life,” Kevin Kingery, ADS employee and farmer stated. “I get to help out my customers when they have a need. I might have to run after fittings, maybe haul them tile to help save the day. My customers aren’t just my customers, they’re my friends. A lot of them are as close to me as my family.”
ADS tile increases your farmable acres, improves your yields and preserves your land for generations to come. In fact, we heard from you the difference that tiling has made on your land.
“When my grandfather bought the farm, they could work about 120 of the 180 acres. The rest of it everybody said was no good. When ADS came in and put this tile project in, it was the first year on the farm that I planted 175 out of 180 acres,” Chad Hendersen, Xtreme Ag partner, said, fighting back tears. “To do that, with my grandfather, dad and me there and get to finish up the farm was just … I didn’t know what to do next. When we got done with the tiling project it was the last piece of the puzzle.”
So, let’s hear it for you and your families. To the challenges you endure. To the sacrifices you make. And to going the extra mile to preserve your soil for the tiny hands and feet that greet you at the door. We’re proud to be at your side through it all. For us, witnessing your hard work makes it all #WorthTheWork.