Hometown Farmer: Juggling Three Jobs and The Heat
(ALTON, IOWA) - Denny Gergen has been farming on his lot of land for 22 years. He grows soybeans and corn in Alton, Iowa and drives a truck around the Midwest.Gergen grew up on the farm and now he has a place of his own. It's a farm his entire family throws in a helping hand. "Everybody's involved in farming here with us. We all have our little things to do. It's enjoyable," said Gergen. When Gergen bought the land in 1990, he did some research and figured out his family was tied to the farm. "The family that lived here, I dated the girl in high school at that time and then I ran around with her older brother, but when I bought it, I did some history on this. My grandpa's brother owned this farm," explained Gergen. Farming isn't his only job. He drives a truck across the Midwest shipping a Siouxland staple. "I haul Blue Bunny ice cream, mainly," said Gergen. You'd think two jobs would keep him busy enough, but he's a man of many talents. Denny and his wife bought a building now called the Alton Business Centra back in 2007 and they've done quite a bit of work to it. Needless to say, he's got his hands full. "We just wish we could farm some more land but that's hard to come by nowadays. It just seems like the corporate farming is the big thing around here," he said. "The small family farm, there's still a few of us in this vicinity, but they're dwindling as time goes on." He's also dealing with this summer's heat, driving corn prices through the roof. "I've seen areas in the Midwest here worst than we are. I mean, totally lost," said Gergen. As a farmer, he'll have to dig deeper in his wallet, too. "You have to make a wise choice out here when you do buy and purchase equipment or seed or fertilizer and work with individuals that will work with you," he explained. Nevertheless, he's stuck with the farming biz because it's in his blood. Plus, with today's technology, he can handle the heat and pressure of farming miles more than his family did years ago. "Where it took my dad probably five days to plant the corn, I can do it in a day now with a 12-row planter," said Gergen. "We enjoy farming very much. We're just a small, family farm keeping it going as best as we can nowadays."
His son, Corey, is working on taking over Denny's farm eventually when he retires.