The Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon Award recognizes a producer, under the age of 35, who demonstrates excellence in the business of farming. This includes marketing, farm finance, technology, as well as family and employee relations.
The 2014 Horizon Award winner has been farming for nearly 20 years, an amazing feat considering he’s only 33. Since he was 15, Jeremy Weaver has been raising, selling and picking sweet corn under the Weaver's Produce brand.
His sweet corn patch has grown from a single acre to more than 40 acres. To give you a quick snapshot of how much work involves, one acre of sweet corn yields around 18,000 ears. He also grows several other vegetables, such as green beans, tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchini. All of these products are sold through farm stands, his personal website and a virtual farmer’s market.
In addition to his vegetable business, Weaver began row crop farming after meeting his wife, Christa. Her grandfather was in poor health and her dad needed help with harvest. As he says, he stepped in to help out and has never really left that role. Today, Weaver rents his vegetable acres from his father-in-law Kevin and together they partner on the rented farm ground.
Competition for land is fierce around Weaver’s hometown of Needham, Ind., which is just sound of Indianapolis. His goal is to grow his farm vertically, instead of horizontally. That philosophy has resulted in specialized crops and creative market development.
Weaver was one of the first sweet corn growers to partner with and supply sweet corn to Husk, a new Indiana sweet corn processing facility that supplies grocery stores across the state. He’s also entering the micro-malting arena. Weaver is raising malting barley, which will be sold to home brewers and nearby breweries to make a completely Indiana-local beer.
Weaver truly has the key characteristics to be a successful young farmer today. He’s creative, calculative, an extremely hard worker and a natural networker. As his local extension educator said in a reference letter: Some people talk about being entrepreneurial, Weaver and his family live it. His story is infectious and is makes you want to farm.
Weaver and his wife, Christa, have a two-year-old daughter named Ella. You’ll be able to read more about Jeremy in the March issue of Top Producer.
About the Horizon Award
The winner of this award had expenses paid to attend the 2014 Tomorrow’s Top Producer conference in Chicago, Ill. In June, Weaver will travel to the United Kingdom for seven days, with the Top Producer of the Year to attend the Cereals Show.
The award is sponsored by SFP.