As Farmers National Co. celebrates its 90th anniversary, the growing landowner services company also will see a changing of the guard.
Iowa native Jim Farrell, president and CEO, has been with Farmers National since 1986. He took a position with the company at its southeast Minnesota office in Rochester, where he managed and sold farms during the heart of the farm crisis. Eventually, Farrell was promoted to vice president of business development. He advanced to become vice president of marketing, and then in 2004, he was named president and CEO. Farrell will be retiring from the employee-owned company effective Dec. 31.
“Our greatest satisfaction as a company is when we can help a landowner or mineral interest owner with concerns or issues that they may have with the management of their property,” Farrell says. “The company has continued to grow, doubling in the number of employees and associates since 2005. Income has grown by four times during that time frame. A good group of loyal employees and associates, along with a great business plan, good long-range planning and good timing in our markets allowed for this growth.”
Farmers National Co. has named Farrell’s successor, David Englund. He currently oversees the company’s farm management sector and hires, trains and supervises field operations. Englund grew up on a farm in Nebraska and holds an agricultural business degree from Kearney State College, is an accredited farm manager, and possesses numerous certifications in real estate and crop insurance.
Englund’s current position will be filled by Ken Schmitt, area vice president for the central area in Jefferson, Iowa. Schmitt grew up on a farm in Lohrville, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University and is an accredited farm manager through the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Schmitt has been with Farmers National since 1986 and has received numerous awards during his tenure. He has served on the company’s board of directors and will join the home office in Omaha, Neb.
Dave Knutson, Farmers National chief financial officer and treasurer-senior executive vice president, officially retired in July. Knutson grew up on his family farm in northwest Kansas. He joined the Farmers National team as a fiscal leader. In the 30 years he was with the company, he carried out corporate and client financial reporting, and oversaw the human resources department, the oil and gas management division, the lake management division, the information technology department and the insurance department. He also has served as trustee for the employee stock ownership plan since its creation in 2000.
Knutson has been replaced by Julie Gerken, senior vice president of financial services-treasurer. Gerken has been with Farmers National since 2014. Early in her career, she worked for the company as an intern in the corporate accounting area. After graduation from University of Nebraska in Omaha, she went into public accounting for 17 years before rejoining Farmers National.