Howell Farms was founded in 1972 by David and Mary Howell. They produced corn and soybeans on 300 rented acres using borrowed equipment and ran a small farrow-to-finish hog enterprise. An interest in horticultural crop production led to the establishment of an onsite, retail farm market in 1977 when hog production was discontinued. Apples, sweet corn, pumpkins, and tomatoes were among the multiple fruit and vegetable crops grown for sale in the farm market, and school tours and festivals were commonplace during the 25 years of retail sales. Production of processing tomatoes was added in the 1990s. When sons Adam and Aaron returned from university to join the family business in the early 2000s, corn and soybean production grew along with a transformation to larger scale fruit and vegetable production. The crop mix was reduced to those which could be produced efficiently and marketed profitably on larger acreages.
Howell Farms of Crossroads, LLC emerged in 2013 as the operational entity for the farm. It remains a diversified, family farming business headquartered in central Indiana. Production includes processing tomatoes, pumpkins and autumn couleur marketed to national retailers, and traditional corn and soybeans. David and Mary continue to work full-time at the farm, but Adam and Aaron provide the necessary intensive agronomic and economic management for the crops and locations. Shannon Mehrling joined HFOC in July 2015 and works with Adam and Aaron as finance manager.
We are more excited now about the future of production agriculture than at any time in our 45 year history. Rapid consolidation of the U.S. production agriculture industry, shrinking farmland base, strong global demand for high protein diets, available seed genetics and technological adaptations for agriculture are factors which present opportunities for farmers who are prepared and able to meet the demands of the new production age. Carefully planned growth is a necessity which defines our perspective; it is not a means to satisfy egos. We must responsibly outpace the competition to secure our place in the agricultural industry of the 21st century.
The land we farm is revered as the most valuable natural resource to be cared for without exception. Intensive sustainability is a goal for the farm which pervades naturally in every facet of planning and operations; we are driven to continually increase production efficiently in our model of a large commercial, family farm and believe this model will answer critical, global food demands in the future.