When Anthony Schwarck joined his family’s farming operation in 2004, he knew he needed to bring and add value. He became the fourth generation of his family to farm, by joining his parents, Dan and Laurie Schwarck, and grandparents, Chris and Ann Schwarck.
“We were strictly a row crop operation when I joined after high school,” says Schwarck, who farms in Riceville, Iowa. “We needed to diversify.”
Schwarck knew he had two resources during the winter months—time and corn. They explored several diversification options, including hog production. But it was beef finishing that finally penciled out. In 2013, along with his wife, Aarika, Schwarck started a beef finishing operation. In the first year, the couple marketed 300 beef heifers.
“We wanted to utilize our homegrown corn,” he says. “This is an outstanding fit. We take the corn we raise, feed it to cattle and they are giving us a byproduct back that we can apply to our fields to help us grow better corn. It’s really added value to our acres of corn.”
Looking forward, Schwarck is focused on his cost of production, managing margins and smart grain and livestock marketing.
“We have the volume on the row crop side and finishing side,” he says. “Now I’m tweaking the operation so we’re getting the most out of both. We’re margin operators in every aspect of our operation—whether that’s growing an acre of corn or producing a market-ready calf. We’re working on margin and the margin is thin—so we want to maximize every dollar we spend.”
In 2006, Schwarck started farming 160 of his own acres. Now, the Schwarcks farm 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans. In 2019, they will market 2,500 head of cattle.
Sponsored by Pioneer, 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 and technology, as well as family and employee relations. Applications are received from young farmers across the country and judged by a panel of industry experts.
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