Diversification has been good for Fruechte Farms in Adams County, Ind. Besides corn and soybeans, other major enterprises include producing and marketing alfalfa hay, and raising turkeys on contract with Cooper Farms, based in Ohio. The Fruechte operation includes Craig Fruechte and his family, and his father, Kim.
Sometimes, finding small ways to diversify can also be an influential way to grow your brand. The Fruechtes also have small herds of beef cattle and swine, which they raise and sell primarily for freezer meat. Although it is not a large portion of their operation financially, Craig finds it valuable.
“Raising beef cattle to sell to our community for freezer meat is something our whole family takes part in,” he says. “It has been a teaching opportunity for my kids, which is important.”
Craig’s two children, Mason, 12, and Brielle, 9, can participate in this portion of the farm business. At their homestead, they raise, on average, 10 to 15 Angus beef steers and 25 hogs at a time. Craig’s wife, Mindy, works as a nurse at Parkview Hospital in nearby Fort Wayne. Her position there has opened a door to a new network of clientele for their freezer meat business.
“Getting to explain how our meat is produced has been a great way for us to not only reach a new target customer, but to educate others on just how their food reaches their table,” Mindy says.
“Our doctors appreciate that they get to know exactly what our animals are eating, how they are being raised and exactly what takes place throughout the process of raising these animals,” she adds.
The freezer meat business allows each member of the Fruechte household to be involved. It is a family endeavor that has allowed them to continue to diversify, as well as to instill values while spending time together.
“Teaching them from a young age to think outside the box, have work ethic and communication skills is a key to success not only to the farm, but to any path they pursue someday,” Craig says.
No matter the size or quantity of diversification, at the Fruechte household, there is no doubt that this farm will continue to find ways to stay competitive in the future.
Myers is a senior in ag communication at Purdue University. She writes from Monroe, Ind.