The following information is bonus material from Top Producer. It corresponds with the article "There Are No Secrets on This Farm” by Greg Vincent. You can find the article on page 14 in the Summer 2009 issue.
Owner: Lon Frahm
Education: Frahm has bachelors degrees in Business and Ag Economics from Kansas State University (KSU) and is an alum of the Masters of Agribusiness program (MAB), also from KSU.
Partners: Bryan Frahm (brother) and Wendy Weishaar (Sister)
Key Employees: Dewey Augustine, Mike Brocklehurst, Dave Denneler, Jason Schielke, Dean Schielke
Crops: Irrigated Corn, Dryland Corn, Dryland Wheat, Milo and Soybeans
Size: 16,000 acres
Mission: To be the premiere agricultural operation in the region – Improving lives, the environment and communities.
Committed to No-Till: "Look over there,” Frahm says, as he drives from his office in Colby to his farm headquarters southwest of town after a rare May 4-inch rainfall. "There's no water in my ditches. There's no water standing in the corn. It's all in the soil. That's no-till. You can tell the fields that are conventional tillage because of the water standing.”
Idea Generators: "Do your homework. If you don't do it, it can come and bite you. Research, ask questions, get on the Internet. Subscribe to the appropriate publications. Attend conferences. Read the Wall Street Journal. It's reading as much as anything. It's always having an open mind, being receptive to change, and adapting quickly”
Intern Program: One or two foreign internscomes to Frahm Farmland each year through a program with The Ohio State University. He is currently in the 10th year of this program and has had visitors from Africa, Europe and South America.
One, Mike Brocklehurst, who is from Zimbabwe is still working on the farm. His brother, also a former Frahm intern, is now a commercial helicopter pilot in Texas on the Waggoner ranch. The Mugabe government in Zimbabwe forced, at gunpoint, the two brothers from their farm. The brothers are now both working towards U.S. citizenship and their parents will soon emigrate to the United States.
Helping Employees: Frahm co-signed on the loans to help his former intern get his helicopter pilots licenses. He has also helped one of his employees purchase his own farm ground, but he has made the offer to all of his employees. Any ground owned by his employees is worked into the regular work flow for Frahm Farmland and they can use his equipment at a reduced rate. "It's a way to mentor and help people. Improving people's lives, improving the environment and improving communities are part of my mission statement for my life and my farm.”
Cultural Experiences: "I was always raised that education was very important, in fact the most important thing. I've always done everything I can to give other people educational opportunities.” Part of those educational opportunities include taking all of his employees to Denver for a variety of experiences, including Broadway shows, the symphony, concerts, ski trips, and sporting events. The entire company and spouses also take larger trips each year to destinations like California, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and an Alaskan cruise this August. "Whenever we go somewhere such as a field day or seed company trip, I want everyone to go. I don't want people to feel it's just sr. management or the owners who get to do things. Everybody gets the opportunity.”
Favorite Quotation: We should all learn to find the opportunities in our difficulties, rather than find difficulties in our opportunities. –Eleanor Roosevelt
"Maybe that quote gets overused, but as I looked back on my career, everything that I considered a difficulty was really an opportunity in disguise. It just takes some distance or some time to realize that. More recently, the drought of the early 2000's was an opportunity to pick up substantial acreages of ground- when other neighbors elected to retire from farming. I would never wish hardship on anybody else, but that is a classic example of an opportunity in a difficulty. I think I need to remind myself of that one everyday. It's so easy to caught up in the frustrations of the day to day; not necessarily to the level of feeling sorry for myself, but certainly to the level of missing seeing the opportunities that are out there.”