Andrew Fansler farms 4,600 acres of no-till corn and soybeans in Indiana and landed the national Young Farmers Sustainability Award. What makes him unique is that he’s a first-generation farmer and he didn’t inherit a family farm. He started at the age of 15 by renting 42 acres, trading labor for equipment to raise his first crop.
Fast forward to age 36.
Fansler’s ever-expanding farm now spreads to three Indiana counties. He uses Verizon technology for field tile installation that uses moisture efficiently and taps iPads and Android tablets for real-time data stored in the cloud. His high-performance, multi-million dollar farm is built around sustainable farming and business practices.
“My office is still in a field,” said Fansler in the Bayer CropScience video that profiled his efforts.
The national award is given to an agricultural producer age 40 or under who demonstrates entrepreneurial initiative and new approaches to farming, sustainability efforts and economic stability.
Fansler received the national recognition in February 2015.
“Both on paper and in person, it’s clear that Andrew Fansler is an exceptional individual who embodies the passion, dedication, instinct, technical know-how and business savvy needed to be a successful and sustainable farmer today,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO, Bayer CropScience LP. “His love of farming and the entrepreneurial approach to business that he’s demonstrated ever since he was a kid is truly inspiring.”
Franklin College is where Fansler learned personal and business skills, but he was still then managing 700 acres as a full-time student.
“I started down the road of no tilling the first year I formed a farm of my own because I couldn’t afford a tractor and tillage tool,” he said. The popularity of no-till as a conservation and sustainability initiative wasn’t lost on Fansler, who noticed better yields — and healthier land. “The dirt underneath is a living, breathing biological system,” he said. “Each year you drag tillage tools across it, you disrupt that activity.”
With wind and soil erosion tackled, his tech tools make for a perfect balance in daily farm activities, including field tile installation that can be mapped out online and sent remotely via a secure data transfer. Good drainage is a critical part of no-till practices that also make a farm financially sustainable.
Today’s crops on Fansler Farms are yellow and white corn, wheat and soybean for seed, including non-GMO soybeans grown for international markets. And he’s not stopping there — with two young daughters, he’s hoping they go into farming one day as well.
“I have a lot of plans ahead of me.”
For more information on innovative farming solutions, check out Verizon’s Smart Farming video.