SEGMENT: CHANGES IN FARM BUSINESS, & GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS

John Ackerman>ISM Interviews A-L>ISM Interviews A-L, Segment 1

SEGMENT: CHANGES IN FARM BUSINESS, & GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS,

duration 12:13
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CHANGES IN FARM BUSINESS
Used to have corn, beans, cattle and hogs, then got out of the cattle business. Says he misses the cattle on warm days with green pastures, but doesn't miss it when it's below zero and chipping ice. Used to be just him, his wife and two older children, then two older guys from Peoria would help pick Indian corn, pumpkins, etc. Good friends of theirs. They now have 6-8 part time teenagers to help with the gift shop. One full time shop manager & four adult ladies that work portions of the shops. Talks about how he tried to do enterprise analysis and picking what items sold best. Hard to separate what makes you money and what doesn't.
GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS
Mentions how his farm has a history of fruit and vegetable (FAV) production, where they can still get government payments and grow FAV at the same time. Says if someone decides to go into the FAV business on his farm, he can't, because the fruit and vegetable people have lobbied that protection into the farm program. He benefits from it, but doesn't consider it the best legislation.
FARMING METHODS
His father was one of the first no till planters in the area during the 1970s. His planter was on display at the Heart of Illinois Fair in Peoria. Sign of a good farmer was to make sure there was no trash (residue) on your plow. Part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRPs).
ENVIRONMENT
Has family acreage is used for wildlife. They have strict rules about what you can and can't plant. Lots more wildlife in the area.