According to the USDA’s latest Census of Agriculture, 2012, there are 2,109,303 farms in the United States. The USDA definition of a farm is misleading as they include individuals with $1,000 or less in agricultural product sales in this total. In contrast, the same Census tells us that large and very large farms together accounted for only 3.8% of all US farms, however, this group produced over 66% of all agricultural product sales. Howell Farms of Crossroads is one of only 8,565 farms in the country, 0.4% of the total, which produced 31.2% of the value of all US agricultural production.
Economics dictates that the agriculture industry recognize and implement the efficiency and increased productivity of large scale operations – just as other industries such as manufacturing and retail have done. Yet, despite the trend toward consolidation of farms, 97% of all the farms in the US are still family owned and operated. Even in our “largest” category, 87% are owned by families. We are just families whose business happens to be farming. We like to grow things ‐ and we are privileged to work together to grow them!
Our Farm Family
For a few years after earning his degree in Economics from Princeton, Adam chose to broaden his perspective of both global agricultural production and the agricultural business industry. He worked on a crew that traveled from Kansas to North Dakota custom harvesting small grains and traveled to Brazil to explore the explosion of agricultural production occurring in what was previously unused frontier land. One winter he slept on the office floor of an American farmer in Bahia and spent his days working on papaya and coffee production while learning to speak Portuguese.
During this time, Adam decided to make production agriculture his career. He returned to Indiana and began the process of molding the family farm into a business that could compete in the agricultural consolidation of the 21st century. His rigorous education and depth of practical experience make Adam a rare individual in the modern world of commercial production agriculture.
Adam shares management of Howell Farms of Crossroads with Aaron. He focuses on business development, long-term planning, finance, crop insurance, landlord and investor relations, and grain marketing. Among multiple production responsibilities that Adam assumes are corn planting, nitrogen application and supervision of the tomato, corn and soybean harvest.
Adam and his wife, Keri, live on the farm with their four young daughters. They are active members of High Street United Methodist church in Muncie and in multiple club and school activities with their girls. He has recently begun to raise a few head of cattle to complement their daughter’s 4-H participation. Adam was named to the 20 under 40 group of young business leaders featured in M Magazine.
An adventurous spirit led Aaron west to study Agricultural Business at Texas A&M. The time in Texas was well spent providing a broad and balanced view of the US and global agricultural industry heading in to the 21st century. While at A&M Aaron learned agriculture from global industry leaders and was able to experience a cultural world much different than Middletown, Indiana. His desire to add to his business and agronomic skills led him to Purdue where he earned his Master’s degree. He considered other opportunities as well but made the decision to return to Indiana and help to shape the future of the family farm.
Included in that future was a rigorous 5 year stint in Bahia, Brazil running a multi-thousand acre farm producing cotton, corn and soybeans for Crossroads Group International, an Indiana based company organized by Adam and Aaron. Aaron became fluent in Portuguese very quickly after his arrival in Brazil and rapidly improved the productivity and value of the farm against all odds.
Aaron shares management of Howell Farms of Crossroads with Adam. Aaron manages daily operations and human resources. His areas of responsibility include agronomy which involves planning and tracking crops, inputs, soil fertility, implementing new technology and field trials. Aaron also supervises pumpkin production and harvest along with customer relations. These responsibilities require intense logistical and people skills. Aaron’s education combined with his wealth of practical application on two continents make him a rare individual in the modern world of commercial production agriculture.
Aaron and his wife, Katy, live near Pendleton with their two young daughters. Aaron was selected to participate in and recently completed the two year Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program.