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Why I Farm: Behind the Movement

A Company With A Heartbeat

Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Faith. Christianity. God. Normally you wouldn’t see these words on a company blog, but I can type them proudly. And it’s not just because I am a Christian. It’s because I work for a family-owned company, Beck’s Hybrids. Maybe you don’t remember from my first blog, but I absolutely love my job. Not only do I love what I do, I love who I work for, what the Beck family stands for, and how they’re not afraid to share their beliefs.

This past spring I traveled across the Midwest capturing stories for the Why I Farm movement. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview three special farmers who have helped shape the agriculture industry – Sonny, Scott and Tony Beck. And I asked them questions. Lots of questions. Some general. Some very personal. And to my surprise, they didn’t hold back.

So, I hope you’ll join me as I take you to a table discussion with Sonny Beck, the office of Scott Beck, and the home of Tony Beck.

Sonny Beck
Walking into the interview with Sonny, I was nervous. The butterflies in my stomach were fluttering and my palms were sweaty. I’m not sure why I was so nervous. Growing up in Hamilton County, IN, I’ve known about Beck’s Hybrids since I was a little girl. In fact, my dad has been a dealer for more than 30 years.

And when I was just 10 years old, Sonny Beck bought my pig at the 4-H auction. I can still remember walking up to Sonny, nervously shaking his hand, thanking him for contributing to my college fund.

But once we sat down and started talking the nerves were gone. Because when I get right down to it, I wasn’t just talking to the president of Beck’s Hybrids, I was talking to a farmer.

Before all the meetings and conference calls, Sonny Beck is a farmer. From learning how to drive a tractor, baling hay, and the 4-H fair, his memories of growing up on the farm are just like mine. And I’m sure yours too.

And like many parents, he wanted to instill good Christian values, good morals, and a good work ethic in his children. Just like he learned from his parents.

After nearly an hour of talking and laughing (If you’ve never heard about Sonny’s 4-H project, the chicken plucker, I encourage you to ask him. Sonny was an innovator at an early age.), I asked Sonny my last question.

Why do you farm?

You didn’t think I would tell you, did you? What I can tell you is that farming isn’t just what Sonny Beck loves, it’s who he is. I encourage you to watch Sonny’s video below. Because he truly says it best. 

Scott Beck
During my job interview at Beck’s, Scott asked me a question in regards to my personality. I can’t remember the exact question, but what I do remember is my answer. Brash Ash – a nickname I acquired along my career path. For those that know me, know I can be a bit blunt, a little impatient, but always honest.

I knew I caught him off guard. But I wanted him and the other interviewers to know that even though having a strong personality was one of my best attributes, it was also a weakness. When I left that day in September 2010, I didn’t just leave knowing I had been 110% honest about myself, I left wanting to become a Beck’s employee.

And nearly three years later, I left an hour and half interview with Scott Beck feeling more empowered and more committed as a Beck’s employee. His devotion to faith and God, make me want to be a better person. Leaning on Him for guidance is what helps keep Scott strong – talking, praying and honoring Him for everything that he and his family have been blessed with.

But even during the serious moments of the interview, we shared a few laughs. When Scott mentioned his dad’s motto of “You work hard, but you can play hard too,” I could instantly relate. Because I was brought up the same way. If you work hard to get the job done, there is always time to play. For Sonny and Scott, that time was spent on dirt bikes, checking fields.

As the interview came to an end, I saved the best question for last.

Why do you farm?

Now, you didn’t think I’d spill the beans on his answer, did you? Okay, one hint. It has to do with the big man upstairs. I hope you’ll watch Scott’s video because I know you’ll be inspired, just like I was after the interview.

Tony Beck
For the last several years, Tony has managed the Central Illinois Production in Allerton, IL. So for this interview, I loaded up the truck and headed the two and a half hours west to the Beck Ranch.

When I pulled in the driveway, I instantly knew I was on Beck property – a manicured lawn, which I found out later, is actually taken care of by Tony’s wife, Tracey; beautiful red barns; and a red brick home, where I could almost hear the laughter from Tony’s four little girls.

Just like a typical farmer, Tony greeted me with a big smile and a firm handshake. We sat down in his office and I started the interview right away. It was the beginning of spring and I wanted to take as little time as possible.

Tony is the youngest of Sonny and Glendia’s three children. And it was at a young age, that Tony knew farming was his life. He firmly believes that God gives each of us abilities, talents and desires, but it is up to us to fulfill them. His ability to farm and be involved in agriculture is one he takes very seriously.

When Tony talked about spring planting, the enthusiasm and passion he has for farming is evident. For Tony, it’s like Christmas morning when the seed arrives. With the tractors ready to go and the seed onsite, the anticipation builds until spring planting commences.

I had to laugh when I asked Tony which season is his favorite. Because he couldn’t decide. It was spring, then fall, then back to spring. Oh no, then it was summer and even winter.

He shared memories of growing up on the farm and how he’s grateful for the opportunity to raise his children the same way. He shared memories of his mom bringing meals to the field and how his dad is his biggest influencer.

When I got to the last question, he answered it without any hesitation, but you’ll have to watch his video to get the full answer.

When I started at Beck’s three years ago, I knew I would be working for a Christian company. What I didn’t realize is how much stronger it makes a team. I firmly believe the Beck’s team of nearly 400 employees has a camaraderie unlike any other. Because when you work for a family-owned company, you work for a company that truly has a heartbeat.

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Ashley Fischer
Ashley Fischer>

Ashley Fischer

Marketing Communications Manager at Beck's.

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

Joyce Easley

12/18/2013 8:41 PM

I cannot express how much I love Beck's "commercials"!!! I have loved every one...but particularly the ones that give credit to, and boldly acknowledge God! They bless my soul, bring tears to my eyes, and make my heart swell! Thank you, a million times over, for having the boldness and integrity to give credit where it belongs! Please continue these ads...everyone I've talked to loves them!

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