Posted on March 30, 2015 at 9:24 AM by Iowa Corn
The Iowa Corn Growers Association is proud to serve our more than 8,000 farmer members across the state. These members are the backbone of our organization and each month we are honored to introduce you to a new ICGA member through our "Meet an Iowa Farmer" series. This month we are proud to feature Kelly Nieuwenhuis, a farmer and ICGA member from O'Brien County.
Tell about you, your family, and your background and farm operationI am Kelly Nieuwenhuis of Primghar IA. I have been married to my wife Luanne for 34 years. We have four grown children, son Jesse 28, daughter Paige 25,daughter Andrea 23 and daughter Perri 20.
Why did you decide to be a farmer? From a very young age I wanted to be a farmer. My father has four sons who all farm today, and proud to say at 80 years of age he still farms all his acres as well. When you have four sons who all want to farm it is difficult to help them get started. When we were in our 20’s we all wanted to get started farming, my Dad was in his late 40’s and did not operate a lot of acres so he said he could let us use his equipment for a few years but we would need to find our own land. So we did. I started farming in 1983, did something risky by going to a land auction and buying 75 acres. Luanne and I both had full time jobs, and were able to use that income for living expenses. All income from the farm went back into the farming operation. Over the years we expanded our acres, had four children, Luanne then became a stay at home Mom and I continued to work off farm full time and farm. In 2003 two of my brothers and I decided to sell our three lines of machinery and buy one larger and newer line of equipment. That worked out well, today we have a corn, soybean grain farm operation, my brothers have a trucking business and I have a Channel Seed business.
What else do you dedicate time to outside of farming?I am also busy with being on our church council, am a director at Farmers Cooperative Company of Paullina, Granville and Hospers. Also, I serve as a director at SEC, an Ethanol plant in Sioux Center IA, and am on Iowa Corn UP committee. I strongly feel as a farmer we need to represent our occupation and fight for what we do and produce. It is a constant battle but necessary to stay involved. In our free time we go to visit our kids, who are all in Iowa! We also like to do some traveling to different parts of the world, and I like hunting and fishing.
Any farming advice or life lessons you'd share with new farmers? It is a tough uphill battle that takes a lot of patience, hard work, nerves of steel and management skills. I am glad today that I put in the effort to remain in farming, and you really do have to be totally devoted to farming to make it.During the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk game who do you root for?I have to say I am neutral on this. We have a house divided, like many other households in the state of Iowa. If I could buy a sweatshirt with Iowa, Iowa State and UNI on it I would!