Harvest Heritage: Hodel Family Farm

Agriculture

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A farm in Woodford County has been run by the same family since 1921. The farm, south of Metamora, began with the grandfather of Kent Hodel.

“It’s been very beneficial to our family,” Kent said. “We’ve always wanted to carry on a tradition to be farmers, to be honest, to work, and family means an awful lot. I think Eric wanted his family to come back and get some value from the farm, which we had passed on from generation to generation.”

When Kent wanted to retire, son Eric left his corporate executive position at Caterpillar earlier than planned.

“Four-and-a-half years ago, I retired from Caterpillar after 20 years of service and started farming with my dad and also working at Midwest Food Bank, at that time as chief financial and chief operating officer, then recently in the chief executive officer role,” Eric said. “My dad and I mostly are the key drivers of the farm business, and for the last four-and-a-half years, I’ve been working with my dad and co-managing and co-leading Quarter Mile Farms.”

“I’m very fortunate that when my dad wanted to transition the farm business, he really wanted to turn the keys over to me,” Eric continued. “And so it doesn’t mean that I do everything, but there was good clarity from my dad running it on his own to me running it with my dad being an advisor. We kind of know our strengths, but it works really well and I think communication is key.”

“Part of what was instilled in me was to volunteer, to give back, to not think just about yourself, and so that is a little bit of what I am trying to instill in the generations that are coming behind me is how do they do the best with what they have, and how do they become productive,” Eric concluded. “And we talk a lot about our family, ‘Are you giving or are you taking?’ and we always try to make sure we are giving.”

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