7 IL Farmers Share Best and Worst Decisions Made

Tara Desmond

Aug 07, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  ICMB |  Public Outreach

  1. "Hard to answer because hindsight is 20/20. What might look like a good or bad decision at first might turn out the opposite later. For example, I bought a farm in 1980 that’s value dropped in half during the farm crisis of 80’s.  Now it is worth 5 times what I paid for it."  Randy DeSutter, 4th generation, Woodhull, IL


  1. "The best decision I made was not expanding the hog operation in the early 90's which would have turned out to be right in the teeth of the crash in the hog market that put a lot of really good operators out of business. It had as much to do with luck as a sound business decision but I could have very easily been blown out of the water with a lot of very top notch pork producers." Dirk Rice, 5th generation, Philo, IL


  1. "It's nice that you think I've already made my biggest mistake.....but playing the Chicago Board of Trade was my biggest mistake and also one my biggest successes. Marketing is our biggest challenge." Dan Cole, 5th generation, Plainville, IL


  1. "This isn't much of a win in the best decision category but switching our soybean program to E3. I was nervous to pull the trigger on that decision. I was worried about the yield drag but I thought that the advantage over having less weed pressure in the field would offset any yield disadvantage. Also had the added benefit of obtaining a cleaner sample to fill our bins with. Since we store 100% of our crop, having a crop in great condition that we can keep in good condition until delivery time is crucial." Sarah Hastings, 5th generation, Sidney, IL


  1. "Mistake -Passing on an investment that appeared to be sound when cash available was limited – too much risk avoidance. Best Decision - Starting our seed business (taking a position in agri-business). Starting the seed business added diversity to our operation and income. Dividing and conquering with my brothers allowed us the ability to expand when crop income was limited. Our joint operation allowed us the ability to do things that would not have been possible individually." Rob Elliott, 5th generation, Cameron, IL


  1. "Buying our first farm ground, one year later it was worth about 1/2 of what we paid, but long term it has increased in value greatly. So it was on both sides of good or bad, depending on the timing." Kent Kleinschmidt, 3rd generation, Emden, IL


  1. "What I thought was the worst mistake turned out to be the best thing for me. Back when I was in high school, I decided I wanted a career in the pharmacy area but my dad who ran the farm had a problem with finding help so he asked me to come home and farm for a while which would postpone the schooling.  I was an only child.  When I came home and saw him buying more equipment eluding to me staying for a while, I was crushed because I was such a good student and had my heart set on a career of my own.  After a few years, I started to realize that it was a pretty good life and life in a small town suited me.  I met my wife in high school so after college we reconnected and ended up getting married." Roger Sy, 6th Generation Farmer, Newman, IL


Do you have a decision or something that happened on the farm that you'd like to share? E-mail us!