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Why I Farm: Behind the Movement

Tour Stop #5 - Aaron Johnson, Orleans, IN

Published on Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I’ll be the first to admit, and I’m sure my husband will agree, having patience isn’t one of my best attributes. It’s something, that over the years, I’ve had to cultivate. And even though I firmly believe I acquired this trait from my dad, he is also one of the most patient people I know.

Dad has managed to grow a farm in one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. With traffic and neighborhoods popping up like a field of corn, farming in Hamilton County has its challenges. I’ve come to the conclusion; it either takes patience or pure talent to travel from one side of the county to the other in a John Deere 9770 combine. I admire my dad and often times think of these situations to provide a little perspective on life. 

Have you heard the "Have Patience" song? I have a fellow coworker to thank for teaching a few of us the chorus. Enjoy!

Just like me, patience is something our next tour stop learned from his father. Because when you work with family, run a row crop operation, manage employees, and make time for your wife and children, patience is what keeps you grounded.

So if you will, please follow me to a small town in southern Indiana, known to many as the Dogwood Capital of Indiana.

Tour Stop #5 – Aaron Johnson, Orleans, IN
I’ll tell you what, Aaron Johnson of River View Farms in Orleans, IN is one busy man. Although he was hard to get a hold of, he had a pretty good excuse. He had recently added a new member to the family – a baby girl. And as if life wasn’t already busy with three little boys and a new baby, it was spring planting. 

"In my mind, farming is just like playing in the world's biggest sandbox." Aaron Johnson of River View Farms in Orleans, IN

But, like many farmers experienced this past spring, Aaron was waiting for the water to recede and the ground to dry. So with Aaron in a waiting game, I thought I would take advantage of his “down time.” On Friday, April 26th I loaded up the truck and headed three hours south to Orleans.

With the morning sun warming my face, I caught myself gazing as I passed through small towns and beautiful farm scenes. Maybe it’s because I don’t mind driving, but there really is something peaceful about a long drive.

When I pulled up to River View Farms main office, I noticed a young man sitting on the rock ledge. I quickly grabbed my things, jumped out of the truck, took in a breath of fresh, country air, and then introduced myself.

Now before I get much further, I should tell you that River View Farms isn’t your typical farm operation. Employing nearly 70 people, River View Farms raises turkeys, pullets and even hogs. The farm has thrived by being innovators in an ever-changing industry. 

Aaron and I sat down in his office and I proceeded with my usual routine. I unfolded my notebook to a blank page, pulled out my questions, turned on the audio recorder, and started the interview. (But not before I tested the recorder twice. You really can never be too sure.)

Grain bins at River View Farms in Orleans, IN.

As Aaron talked about growing up on the farm, he mentioned little bits of the farm’s history. And after a couple more questions, I was dying to learn more about the roots of the operation. Since the 1930s, diversification has been the model of their farm. To ensure all areas of the farm get the attention they deserve, different family members managed different parts of the business. Something that continues today.

After graduating from Purdue (Boiler Up!) in 1996, Aaron returned to the farm full-time and followed in his father’s footsteps. He now manages the row crop operation, as well as four full-time employees.

When Aaron talked about what he learned most from his dad, it actually made me smile. Because it’s the same trait that I’ve had to polish and I’ve always looked to my dad for guidance. It’s learning to have patience in life. As much as we’d all like it, not everyone is on our timeline.

It was toward the end of our conversation when I asked Aaron what he looks forward to most. And honestly, I was taken aback by his answer. I expected him to say something about spring planting or harvest. But for Aaron, it’s the employees. It’s working with them each and every day. It’s about not just being an employer, but a friend.

From tractor rides with his boys to overcoming a farming accident two years ago, Aaron shared so many wonderful stories during our conversation. And as much as I’d like to share them, I’m told a blog should be less than 600 words. Don’t tell anyone, but I might have gone over that limit 200 words ago.

So without any further ado, take a look at Aaron’s video below to hear why he has devoted his life to farming.

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Ashley Fischer
Ashley Fischer>

Ashley Fischer

Marketing Communications Manager at Beck's.

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3 comments on article "Why I Farm: Behind the Movement "

Kevin Summers

9/6/2013 1:07 PM

This is definitely the Aaron I remember as a bright eyed 18yr old!

Lisa Chaudion

3/5/2014 12:44 PM

Enjoyed watching this, left goose bumps! Keep on doing what you do best...farming! We need people like you keeping the tradition.

Brandi "Frost" Wood

8/2/2014 8:21 AM

Definitely the Aaron I remember from FFA! I would recognize that face anywhere! Loved the video!

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