By Kalie Ammons, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wabash County Chamber of Commerce has selected a 2014 Wabash County Farm Family of the Year. Cousins Jon and Christian Rosen run Rosen Farm and Seeds where they grow corn, soybeans and wheat, and raise hogs.
“Being chosen as the Farm Family of the Year means a lot to us,” Jon says. “It’s a great honor. We were happy to accept it.”
“I think our dads see a sense of a big accomplishment,” Christian says. “They’re thrilled, and we’re thrilled, and our family members area all thrilled. I think it’s one of the highlights of our farming careers. We greatly appreciate that we were chosen.”
A Strong Bond
It’s no surprise that Christian and Jon are very close. Aside from working together, they also attended college together at Purdue University and earned their Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Economics.
“When we told people what we to do, they wondered why we needed a college education for it,” Christian says. “You do need a college education. Not necessarily to learn what you’re going to do, but you need it on the business side and the networking and the communication skills.”
Jon says that even though it’s expensive, college education will pay for itself in the end—especially in the agriculture industry.
“I bet the average Wabash County farmer, I would guess at least grosses around $1 million annually, if not more,” Jon says. “Who in the world would not want a college education when you’re dealing with over a million dollars’ worth of product?”
Looking at the Future of Farming
For the Rosens, farming is a technological challenge that requires business skills and knowledge of sophisticated, often-complicated equipment.
“It’s a good way of life,” Christian says. “Somebody needs to do it. And there’s getting to be fewer and fewer farmers all the time.”
With the advancement of drone technology and other smart computers, the cousins say, it won’t be long before they let the machines do all the work.
“Our fertilizer is all controlled by the computer, our monitors in the combine and all the steering is also powered by a computer,” Christian says. “Our equipment has come so far, it’s getting bigger, more expensive, and—“
“Pretty soon it’s going to run itself,” Jon finishes.
"I love running the tractors, but I can’t wait til the day I can sit at the computer and run it from the office,” Christian says. “I’ve already seen it and they don’t talk about it, but it’ll be great.”
Making the Most During Good Times and Bad
But there are also steep hurdles that face the Rosens and other farm families, like the recent drop in corn prices.
“Unfortunately, when you see $8 corn, you get used to $8 corn, and a lot of people became accustomed to it,” Jon says. “I don’t see that coming back, especially in the near future, unless for some reason there would be a drought, but I think we better start getting used to the $4 and $5 corn. You hear some people guessing we are going to see $3 corn. I still remember when we wanted to see $3 corn.”
The Rosens feel with the right preparation during the good times, the bad times won’t be so hard on the farmers.
“I think farming has been great, and I think farming is going to be great,” Christian says. “Times change and things were good the past several years, but now we’re just going to have to go back and really watch the costs. I think farming is always going to be good, I just think times aren’t always going to be as good as they have been.”