Generational farmer shares experience of taking over the business

This piece is presented by The First National Bank in Sioux Falls.

At age 65, Jon Nelson’s father was ready to retire. With a full-scale farming operation under his care, he had to make sure his son was willing to take over. Jon remembers it well.

“I said probably the two most foolish words in my entire life, and that was ‘no problem.’ At 29, I don’t know that I realized what I was saying.”

As a generational farmer and cattle feeder, Jon manages his operation in Lake Preston, working countless hours a year to carry on his family’s legacy.

“It’s not always easy, and there are a lot of sleepless nights because farms are big business. You become emotionally connected to it, and it becomes a way of life.”

It’s a lifestyle many appreciate but fewer experience. Here, in his words, Jon describes being a farmer in 2017.

What motivates you to get up and out of bed in the morning?

The possibilities that come with a new day. In the ag industry, that can be many things – sunrises or sunsets, a calf being born, planting and harvesting crops, and most importantly, the joy of working with my family.

What does success look like to you?

To me, success is not only being good at my job, but also being a good husband, father and neighbor. I’ve made mistakes and failed in all of these roles over the years, but learning from those mistakes has made me a better person.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or deceased, who would you pick?

My grandfathers – they both passed before I was born. To have them sit in today’s equipment and the looks on their faces when they see how we farm today would be amazing.

What would you tell someone who is scared of taking the plunge?

Nothing is to gain without first trying. You need to find a mentor to give advice or to be able to just talk to and bounce ideas off of. We learn the most from our mistakes.

Do you have a mantra or piece of advice that helps you stay present?

Concentrate on your strengths. If you work on your weaknesses your whole lifetime, you will die with stronger weaknesses.

View Jon’s full story here.

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Generational farmer shares experience of taking over the business

At 29, Jon Nelson took over his family farm. Here, he shares his experience as the next generation to work the business.

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