MULBERRY, Ind. — Since a career in farming is greatly based
on Mother Nature and what the weather will bring from one growing season to the
next, many farmers supplement their incomes with a part-time job off their
Hal and Ty Brown, a father-and-son duo, combined their
efforts to run and maintain Windy Lane Farms, a diversified agricultural
production operation in Clinton County, where they grow corn and soybeans.
Their location also is the only Drago corn head dealership
in the state, and they recently added a three-story office, parts and service
building to better serve their increasing customer base throughout Indiana and
The farm was one of the tour stops during the recent Indiana
Farm Management Tour coordinated by Purdue Extension.
Ty Brown noted that he and his father have more then 26
landlords throughout the county and the surrounding area, and the key to having
a good relationship with them, as well as the hope that they will keep letting
them rent their land for planting, is communication.
Periodic emails informing the landlords of what is growing
on their land, along with the processes being used, is a big tool that Brown and
the rest of his family have adopted over the years to stay in touch with the
owners of the property they are farming.
“We also give them gifts in the fall and at Christmas,” he
Brown added that since they have quite a large number of
landlords and such a diversified operation — he and his father also own and
operate grain facilities in the nearby towns of Colfax and Kirklin — he has
started writing a newsletter, which he sends out to the property owners.
The publication, he noted, is honest with the landowners
about what’s going on in the field, such as the use of cover crops to improve
the overall long-term health of the soil, as well as market prices.
Brown mentioned that he also tries to explain why renting to
someone else, such as a fertilizer company, just because the other potential
renter has placed a high bid may not always pay off in the end.
“What works one year may not always work the next,” he
He added that Windy Lane Farms expresses to its landlords
how, even though it may not have the highest bid, the family wants to build
long-term relationships with their landlords that will last a generation.
“There’s always things to do to improve,” Brown said, which
he believes is an important part of the family operation.