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The Rulons and their entire family believing saving soil is their competitive advantage.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

June 27, 2013

2 Min Read

Rulon Enterprises, Arcadia, is a family farm and a successful business. Having homesteaded here in 1869, the Rulon Family's goal is enjoy the way of life while still maximizing profits from the farm business.

Ken and Jane Rulon are key individuals who help make that happen. So is Ken's brother, Roy, and wife Jamie; his cousin, Rodney, and wife Tasha. Keeping a watchful eye during retirement are Ken's dad and mom, Jerry and Carol.

Ken does his share of farm work. Jane keeps the office humming. But their main contribution, according to their partners, is the management style and leadership.


Ken worked in industry for 10 years before returning to the farm. "I learned how to manage capital aggressively," Ken says.

"One of our goals is to maximize the net value of our various stakeholders over the long term, including landlords. We create individual business and marketing plans for each landlord that focus on their goals. Their profits consistently outpace competitive cash rents." 

The Rulon's business model uses separate entities to achieve diversity goals. Each entity is managed independently. Equity capital invested is paid interest similar to funds sourced from a bank. Ownership varies and includes non-family members.

For example, Bryant Premium Pork produces 10,600 market hogs annually. "Mark Bryant and his family operate that entity and have made it very successful," Jane explains. "It's a separate enterprise from our grain farms. Every entity has its own accounting database." Another entity, Stillwater Grain Farms, operates in Ohio. It's managed on a daily basis by non-family partner, Tory Tollefson and his wife Jalynn.

The family uses the latest technology to save and build the soils. As early adopters of one-acre grid soil sampling, they have developed their own formulas to variably apply gypsum, lime, seeds, and nutrients. Utilizing no-till techniques since 1991, they have recently added multiple cover crops to the system. They believe conserving and building the soil provides an ongoing competitive advantage.

Ken and Jane are also active off the farm, serving in various capacities. Ken was named a Purdue University Distinguished Alumni in recognition of his efforts on and off the farm.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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