It’s finally spring in the Midwest and the Esther boys (Ryan and Chad) are into their first full season of farming together in their newly formed partnership, Esther Farms. As part of the family’s transition plan, Chet Esther and his wife Lori have brought the next generation fully into the operation by transferring lease agreements from Chet to his sons.
The Esthers were able to make good progress in mid-May on planting of their 4,700-acre grain operation after having some new plantings rained out early on. This past week they replanted 400 acres of corn and all but 70 acres of beans.
"Chad's planter is 30' wide and capable of 15" rows and Ryan's planter, which we haven't used on beans before plants, 30" rows but is 60' wide," Chet says. "Ryan was planting 40 acres per hour in good going. We also started on side dressing nitrogen and the first two pictures are of a field that is done. Our wheat is also heading out and the next two pictures are off that, it needs warm and dry weather while blooming to reach its potential.
As for succession planning, it remains a year-round process. The Esthers spent the winter finalizing their buy/sell agreement between Chet and his sons. This summer, Chad and Ryan hope to finish up a formal business plan for Esther Farms. – Jeanne Bernick