Man of Destiny?

July 31, 2009 07:00 PM
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.

Despite his best efforts and planning, Lon Frahm is doing pretty well at this farming thing.
As a youngster, Frahm dreamt of working in the business world or becoming an attorney like his father. Instead, he followed his father's other career path as a farmer. His first glimpse of what was to come showed up in the results of a high school career-aptitude test.
"It scored you on two different axis and suggested the world of work where you might find a good fit for your life. I was never the kid that was really into farming, when I was younger I was never in FFA. That test came back and there it was…farmer,” he says with a laugh. "Boy was I mad. I wanted it to say I should be a scientist or a doctor and it didn't. I'd always said I was never going to be a farmer.”
Yet, a look at Frahm's family history shows that this may have always been his destiny.
Two of his great, great grandmothers were childhood friends in northern Germany, but they were separated when their families emigrated to America. One family settled in Nebraska, the other in Kansas. They would never know that decades later, in the early 1930's their grandchildren would meet and marry when Lon's grandfather Frahm came from Nebraska to teach school in Thomas County, Kansas. He began farming full time with his father-in-law only when the school district could no longer pay his salary. The operation somehow held together—barely— through the dust bowl days despite a catastrophic fire that destroyed the newly built shop and all the uninsured equipment. The rains in the 1940's also coincided with high wheat prices and small fortunes were made virtually overnight.
Two generations later, Frahm's father Ronald built his share of the twice divided original farm into his own 5,000 acre operation including irrigation, along with a successful law practice in Colby, Kansas.
Frahm's life desire was to work in business or become an attorney. Farming was of no particular interest to the young Lon. Yet his father offered him more money than any other potential employer (and there were several offers) when he graduated from Kansas State University with  degrees in Business Administration and Agricultural Economics.
An MBA or law school could wait a few years, after all it was the late ‘70's and ag was booming.
Then life took a tragic turn when his father died suddenly of a heart attack in 1986 at the height of the farm crisis. The 28-year-old Lon, the oldest of three Frahm siblings was left to manage his father's estate, keep the farm operating and provide for his mother and younger sister and brother. 
Today he is the 6th generation to manage family farming operations in Thomas County, and with the help of a farm crew he treats like family, the business has grown to 16,000 acres.

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Spell Check

Linda Bernth
Dearborn, MI
6/17/2018 08:08 PM

  I was very impressed with Mr Fraham's concept of treating his employees like family. What a fabulous story!! Scrolling through the pics of all the employees they looked genuinely happy and content with their positions. Naturally if you treat your employees like Mr. Fraham does - they end up producing more and being very loyal. I would love to come to visit this operation. I just returned from Montana where I stayed at a Farming/Milking/Cattle operation and it was totally different. It was still run by the 94 yr old mother who was a mean ole coot and the employees were all disgruntled - I observed a very unproductive operation to say the least. Perhaps in Mr. Fraham's spare time (yeah right ha!) He could teach classes on how to run a productive operation where the employees are treated with respect. Thank you for doing such a fabulous job Mr. Fraham. P.S. Is Lon Fraham married?? Seriously I have a profile on Farmers Only.Com - Lovelylilac from Michigan. Anyway I have always been extremely interested in all aspects of agriculture and would love to tour the facility. I also write freelance articles Thank you, Linda from Michigan 313-544-6841


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