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Making a Mark in 2023

A Farmer Focused on Service: Meet Brandon Ehret.

The ‘traditional farmer’ looks quite a bit different today than back in the early days of American agriculture, but a display of dedication to family and service is still part of the values that drive these individuals. No truer could be said about the fourth generation farmer, Brandon Ehret.

Last year, Brandon took over his family’s corn and soybean farming operation, along with a cow/calf herd near Lake Park in Dickinson County, Iowa. Brandon’s generational farm has roots back to 1928, beginning with his great grandparents which means in five years, the Ehret Family Farm will gain a new title – Century Farm.

“I have been given the opportunity to be a part of something that not only has been passed on for generations but something that has been a part of our family for nearly 100 years and I am thankful for that,” Brandon shared.

Although this classification is quite an accomplishment, Brandon tends to focus more on the future of his operation which includes his two kids, Rylan and Kelsey.

Brandon says that being part of the operation has ignited the passion for agriculture within his children.

“Cattle have been a great way to teach responsibility from a young age. It is one thing to have the responsibility to clean up the dishes, it is a whole different level of responsibility when a living animal is relying on you to keep them alive,” Brandon states. “I am thankful my kids have had those types of experiences on the farm.”

Being a dad and a farmer can have its challenges, but Brandon works hard to be successful in both roles.

“It was important to me to make time for my kids. It’s a priority to show up for their games and other activities they are involved in,” Brandon says. “Of course during spring and harvest that can get difficult, but they have always been very understanding when something on the farm needs to be done.”

Besides his farm and family, Brandon had dedicated time to serving on the Lake Park Fire Department for 22 years, and the last 16 years of his service has been as the Fire Chief.

“I got asked by the previous Fire Chief to join the fire department while I was still in college. I didn’t really think about it, and just said yes. 22 years later, I am still there and enjoy serving our community. Feels like I’m constantly learning,” Brandon shares.

Brandon has taken that “forever student” mentality to CFE, as he recently became involved as an associate board member and a CFE Core Leadership Program participant. Brandon enjoys understanding how the co-op system works.

“Right out of college, I worked for a cooperative, so I have a background on how co-ops work,” Brandon shares. “Still, every co-op is different and has many moving parts to it. Both of these opportunities were great ways to learn more about CFE and the benefits it brings to its members.”

When Brandon was asked to apply for the Core Program, he took some time to think about it, as his biggest commodity is his time. Already busy with his operation and a custom trucking business on the side, he wasn’t sure if he would participate. However, he decided that taking the time to participate could be rewarding for his farm and family.

“There is a lot of great information that comes out of these Core sessions that I have been able to take and use on my operation,” Brandon explains. “I am not a marketing expert, so I appreciated all the numbers and marketing expertise this class has brought in.”

If you ask Brandon what he’s most proud of on his farm, you may hear, “I am proud that we are a smaller family farm compared to others in the area but have managed to remain competitive and successful. There’s a balance of looking for new opportunities and staying focused on what you have in front of you and doing the best job possible.”

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