Perhaps one of the best things Craig Williams’ dad ever did for him was insist that he get a “real” job off the farm to see how the rest of the world operated. Craig found a part-time job in a grocery store in Vincennes, Ind., while still going to school.
“I didn’t particularly like the job, but that’s how Kim and I met,” Craig explains. “She worked there, too. Otherwise, we might not have met. I didn’t keep the job long, but I kept Kim!”
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Kim explains that although she didn’t grow up on a farm, she has adapted and enjoys farm life today. Her interest and training is in accounting.
Craig graduated from Purdue University with a degree in agricultural economics. Kim also graduated from Purdue, with a degree from the Krannert School of Management. With this combination of ag economics and accounting, it’s no surprise that this enterprising couple has put together both a well-oiled farm operation and an efficient business, Pro-Ag Seed Service, selling Pioneer seed.
Craig’s family operates Sandy Ridge Melon Market, with a retail outlet on U.S. 41 north of Oaktown, Ind., and has for years. Due to a temporary setback in the melon business at the time, there wasn’t room for Craig to join the family business immediately after Purdue. So, he gained experience working in the retail crop industry for a few years. Kim has worked off the farm in various accounting positions.
Craig and Kim made a major move in 2000 when they purchased the location that is now home base for their farm and seed sales business. They have bought additional land since then, but also rent land from supportive landowners.
“We started in no-till out of necessity,” Craig says. “We didn’t have lots of equipment, and we didn’t have excess labor either. So, we dedicated ourselves to no-till and made it work.”
Today, they raise primarily corn and soybeans in rotation. They grow some food-grade white corn for Azteca, a local miller, and also produce non-GMO yellow corn for a nearby alcohol plant. In addition, they raise some seed beans for Pioneer.
Cover crops are a major part of their cropping system today. About 75% of their acres receive a cover crop each fall. They use a unique approach for cover crops ahead of some corn the following year, drilling in 15-inch rows with a Kinze planter, alternating cereal rye and radishes in 15-inch rows. They no-till corn in the spring into rows where radishes winter-killed.
More than farmers
Kim assists Craig in the seed business office and by keeping financial records for both the farm and the seed business. Both Craig and Kim have also been active in the community in various organizations for a long time.
Since 2012, Craig and Kim have been an integral part of the Micah 6:8 Project, founded by Christy Farhar of Shoals. This group established and maintains a vocational school in Ghana, West Africa, with the goal of helping break the cycle of poverty and slavery within that country.
Soon after Craig and Kim’s son Jacob died in a swimming accident in 2017, they established Jacob’s Wells, a nonprofit group that works to install wells in Ghana. So far, 15 wells have been installed.
The Williams family has also made mission trips to Ghana and is dedicated to providing life-sustaining water to as many villages full of children as possible.
Craig and Kim Williams at a glance