Growing with gratitude for 50 years and counting
Growing with gratitude for 50 years and counting
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 – and a fire which destroyed the farrowing house – led to the establishment of an onsite, retail farm market in 1977. Apples, sweet corn, pumpkins, tomatoes and melons were among the multiple fruit and vegetable crops grown for sale in the farm market. School tours and festivals were commonplace during the 25 years of retail sales. Production of Red Gold processing tomatoes was added in 1995. 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.
During those transformative years, Adam and Aaron originated an investment company to purchase and operate a large farm in Bahia, Brazil. Aaron and his wife, Katy, moved to Brazil to manage this farming company. They steered the farm from bare land to a productive operation growing cotton and soybeans. With this rigorous management the goals of the Brazilian venture were met and Aaron was able to return to the Indiana farm after five years.
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 Red Gold tomatoes along with the traditional corn, soybeans, malting barley and wheat for processing flour. David and Mary continue to work at the farm but Adam and Aaron provide the intensive agronomic and economic management.
Despite turbulent global events, we are excited about the future of production agriculture. Rapid consolidation of the U.S. agriculture industry, shrinking farmland base, strong global demand for high protein diets, 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 plan and work to responsibly outpace the competition in order to secure our place in the agricultural industry of the 21st century.
The land we farm is revered as our most valuable natural resource to be cared for without exception. Intensive sustainability is a goal 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. We believe this model will answer critical, global food demands of the future.
The timeline below provides more detail of notable events in our nearly 50 year history.
Published thesis entitled "An Economic Study of Full-Time Labor on Indiana Farms"
They started with 300 acres of rented land and borrowed machinery
A grain facility master plan is established and used over next 45 years
1/2 acre of strawberries are grown and on-site farm market is created in a converted hog building
American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Committee
Grain prices fall and interest rates rise precipitously
No-till and reduced tillage practices are initiated
Sponsored by Indiana Institute of Agriulture, Food and Nutrition
Works to create "Strategic Plan for Indiana Agriculture"
Fruit and vegetable Production has grown to 14 acres of strawberries plus 100 acres of sweet corn, melons and other vegetables
Visiting children learn the importance of agriculture to daily life
Tomato production begins with 80 acres and shared equipment
Adam heads west to work on harvesting crew after graduating
Red Gold tomatoes and fresh market vegetables push horticulture crops even with corn and soybeans
Adam becomes fluent in Portuguese and seeks investment opportunities in Brazilian agriculture
Indiana legislature grants provisional funding
Efficiency is sought after goal
Aaron elects to pursue Master's Degree at Purdue University following graduation
Decision is made to discontinue school tours and retail sales on site
Aaron decides to join the family farm and pursue career in production agriculture
Crop mix is decreased to four enterprises: corn, soybeans, Red Gold processing tomatoes and Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins
Aaron and Katy make home in Brazil
Cover crops are used to improve soil health, sequester fertilizer, provide organic matter, and limit erosion
Howell Farms produces 1% of all fresh market pumpkins in USA
Site-specific and variable rate technology emphasized to maximize efficienty and reduce waste
Aaron joins list of Ag Leaders in Indiana
Adam is recognized for business accomplishments
Howell Farms looks to the future with carefully planned growth in mind and a new banking partner
The Dean's Advisory Council offers industry insights and direction to the University's School of Agriculture
Scroll the timeline to the right to read through our history.
Howell FarmsGrowing With Gratitude