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Producing Excellence

Andrew Hartshorn

Hamburg, AR

Hartshorn Farms

Products Raised or Grown: Corn, oats and soybeans

Size of Operation: 2,200 acres

In Business Since: 2005

Farm Credit Partner: Delta ACA

Working with Farm Credit Since: 2006

First generation farmer Andrew Hartshorn knew he wanted to work outside rather than sit behind a desk, even after he attended mortuary school with the plan to work at his family’s funeral home. Getting started by working with his father-in-law gave him the knowledge to lease and run his first acreage; continuing to learn through experience and mentoring support from other farmers gave him the confidence to dramatically expand his operation, almost tripling it in a single year.

After Andrew went out on his own, he worked his first 800 acres for four years. Then, in 2010, he turned that farm back to its owners and in three separate transactions gained 2,200 acres of land on which he raises corn, oats and soybeans, most of which is sold to local elevators to be used for animal feed. “It was time to go big or go home,” Andrew says, explaining that the original farm was too small for long-term viability.

Managing the expansion carried a fair degree of stress as well as financial outlay. He more than tripled his equipment fleet, including one combine that was delivered just one week before his oats were ready to be cut. His first full year with the larger operation, 2011 proved to be a good one despite dry weather conditions that necessitated extensive irrigation. “The yield wasn’t that impressive, but we watched our spending,” he says. “It let me know we’d be able to make a living.”

Andrew’s success has been enabled in part because of support from several local farmers. “I’ve got a group of three older farmers who have farmed all their lives, and I know I can call them any time, any day, and they’ll give me advice or come over to my farm to check things out,” he says. Andrew also credits his two full-time employees, saying, “I don’t think you can have a big, successful farm without having hands who care as much as you do.” As a young, beginning farmer, Andrew also respects the advice he hears from both his financial consultant and his loan officer at Delta ACA. Not surprisingly, he points to his wife, who works as a registered nurse in a nearby clinic, and his 18-month-old son, for providing the inspiration for working as hard as he does.

Overall, Andrew is satisfied with his decision to become a farmer. “There aren’t that many places where a 28-year-old can be running his own million dollar business,” Andrew says. “Plus, I get to drive a big tractor every day.”

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