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Farming insider: Vis Farm, USA

About the Vis Family Farm

The Vis farm was established in 1992. These days, three generations work together here to farm maize, soybeans, and hybrid rye. Farmer Todd Vis took over the farm from his father, and now his two sons Cole and Jared are ready to adapt the business to the agricultural challenges of the future.

Farm facts

Family-run farm where three generations work together

Location: Pipestone County, Minnesota, USA

Crops cultivated:

Maize, soy, hybrid rye

Special features: Less than one percent of Minnesota’s inhabitants work in the agricultural sector, yet the home state of the Vis family is among the biggest producers of agricultural goods within the USA.

My wish for the future of the family farm is that it will still be run well in the fifth, sixth, and seventh generation.
Cole Vis, USA

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Question time

We’re in southwestern Minnesota, not far from the border with South Dakota. Although only a few people here work in agriculture these days, the state of Minnesota remains one of the country’s biggest producers of agricultural goods. Does that make you proud in a way?

Jared: Playing a part in feeding the United States and the world makes me proud to be a farmer. And being able to do this kind of work with my family makes it even better.

Todd, as a father, you no doubt feel the same way about working together. Are you happy with the way you have prepared your sons for a life in farming?

Todd with his sons Jared and Cole

Todd with his sons Jared and Cole

Todd: I am delighted they are part of the family business. It’s really fulfilling to have them here. When they take over the farm, I plan to remain involved in whatever they’ll let me do then. Even if they only need me for driving tractors in future, or just working the soil from time to time, that’s also fine.

Now we’ve talked about the future, let’s go back to your beginnings. Cole and Jared, did you know early on that you wanted to work in farming?

Cole: Yes, even when I was little I always knew I wanted to be a farmer. I always had little tractors at home, and we played with them in the house when we couldn’t go into the fields.
Jared: I started wanting to become a farmer at a young age. My earliest memory on the farm takes me back to my own first ride on the tractor. I saw myself as an equal in the business early on, even though I was not yet included in the company partnership. The current registered partnership is just a name change; I’ve felt like an equal in the business for a very long time.

How was the handover, or the introduction to the work on the family farm? Is there anything that stands out in your memory, looking back?

Cole and Jared working on the farm

Cole and Jared working on the farm

Cole: What I like to think back on is the constant willingness to try new things. My grandfather and my father were always open to change, open to doing extra things to improve our crop yields with less input. I really value that, because I also see other farms. I have friends and acquaintances whose fathers and grandfathers are really reluctant to try new things. It’s really great to be in a position where you can push things forward and see how effective they are.
Todd: My father, Cole’s and Jared’s grandfather, started the farm in 1992 and introduced me to farming back then. Even now, he still helps us out every day. Now it’s my turn, and I think I’ll pass on the business in much the same way as my father did with me back then.

That all sounds very harmonious. Are there not also moments when it's tricky working so closely together?

Jared: We get on well with each other. Sure, sometimes we don’t quite agree on something, but in the end we make sure we get on the same page.
Cole: My favorite thing about working with my family is that I see them so often. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes it’s not, but mostly it’s good.

The Vis Farm

The Vis Farm

You two will take the farm into the future. What image do you have in mind when you envisage this farm still in the hands of the Vis family many years from now?

Cole: My wish for the future of the family farm is that it will still be run well in the fifth, sixth, and seventh generation and that it will develop into a business that people respect.
Jared: When I think about the future of the family farm, I picture my children, whom I want to support in whatever they choose to do. If one of them decides to carry on the farm, I will try to show them the way – just as well as my father once did for me.

On the road worldwide. Always closeby.

All farmers have their own character - which is reflected in their way of life, philosophy and the form of farming and livestock breeding. We visited our farmers around the world and wanted to know what makes them successful, what they stand for and what challenges they have to face. A journey across five continents.

More insights about our farmers


Arco Van Triest, Netherlands

“This farm has been running since 1900, and now my children are here.“


Adem Biçici, Turkey

“When I go out into the fields with my grandson, I see myself reflected in his curiosity.“


Šandor Sabo junior, Croatia

“Whatever problems we are facing, we solve them together. For me, family is all about cohesion.“


Atila Sabo, Croatia

“Every morning, my brother and I agree what we want to do during the day, what our duties are. So we share the work and have passed on this structure to our children in the same way.“


Brian Ryberg, USA

“I think the feeling of being part of something greater has always been important to me.“


Carla, Fábio and José Rossato, Brazil

“I never had any doubts; I never wanted to be anything but a farmer.”


Dimitar Vukudinov, Bulgaria

”Working with your own father means that you always have a wiser man with you to support you and look up to.”


Rodolfo Cura, Argentina

“The farm is everything to me. Working in agriculture is the greatest way to do what I love. For me, the farm means freedom.”


Heidi Verschelde, Belgium

"I think the next generation is showing a keen sense for the importance of nature."


Ievhenii Bondarchuk, Ukraine

"If you want to be a farmer, you can’t learn that in an institute. It’s something you have to be born with."


Luigi Torri, Italy

“I hope my sons will pass on the love and respect for the earth and all the values I taught them.”


Paweł Strzemiecki, Poland

“This love of farming, of the farming tradition, goes back generations in our family.”


Emma F., UK

“It would be great if one day the sixth or seventh generation of our family runs the farm.“


Peter Carlisle, UK

“Teamwork is the most important thing on our farm. Everyone does a little bit of everything. If we weren't a team, our business wouldn't be as successful as it is today.“


Henning & Arne Beecken, Germany

“The feeling of wanting to continue the work on the farm has grown day by day since childhood.“


Cole Vis, USA

“My wish for the future of the family farm is that it will still be run well in the fifth, sixth, and seventh generation.”


Emanuele Bortoli, Italy

“Reliability and respect form the foundation for how we deal with one another. These are values I`ve always held in high esteem.“


Francis Bapst, Switzerland

“For me, the most important values are respect for nature, understanding our consumers and food production.”


Toni & Daniel Peterhans, Switzerland

”Spirit and passion are what leads to success, whether it's in farming or on the football pitch.”


Riccardo Casarotto, Italy

”Independence is a dream that we should all cultivate and pursue. Dreams are there to come true and to help you progress.”


Stephan Jansen, Belgium

”I look forward to waking up every day and being able to work with nature.”


Gizem Anar, Turkey

”People should love what they do, and I love farming. I enjoy looking after animals, plants and nature and try to feel connected to them!.”


Adrian Knuchel, Switzerland

”For me, team spirit means being able to live and work together. It means ongoing exchange, taking each other, mutual ideas and suggestions seriously.”


Gürkan Ilhan, Turkey

”People who work in agriculture, cultivating crops, rearing livestock and working on the land, accumulate positive memories day after day.”


René Vermue, Netherlands

”Team spirit and reliability are hugely important in both my personal life and my working life – be it with colleagues, employees, or in dealings with other farmers.”


Henrick Dieckmann, Germany

”For me, it´s important to be sustainable and healthy in what we produce.”