Taking the reins of a fifth generation family farm is a dream for many. When that opportunity arose for Matt and Janna Splitter they decided to take it to the next level.
High school sweethearts Matt and Janna decided to enter the corporate world after college, but when Matt’s dad passed, they knew it was time to move back to central Kansas and return to their roots. At the helm of the 1400 acre operation they knew if they were going to make this operation successful they would need to grow; in both knowledge and acres. That growth took dedication and many, many long hours.
“It’s not a conscious decision to work that much, you just do what needs to be done,” Matt says of the hours he and Janna have put into building their operation.
The fork in the road came for the Splitters in 2015. That year set the course that has led the family to where they are today. With a good wheat harvest and decent margins, they decided to hold onto their crop—the learning experience that would become pivotal in their farming career came when wheat prices dropped by nearly half.
“It’s best to learn from other people’s mistakes, but it means more when you learn from your own mistakes,” Matt shares of he and Janna’s financial loss.
Going forward, Matt and Janna knew that to be successful they needed to identify people who were farming the way they wanted to farm and learn all they could from them—they needed mentos.
That mentorship came from Lee and Margaret Scheufler, a couple who own and operate their own successful farming operation in central Kansas. A mentorship that quickly turned to friendship was born.
“We built a foundation of education with the Scheuflers, they were teaching us not just telling us,” says Janna.
Today, the Splitters employ seven full-time employees, and credit their non-existent turnover—something many farming operations struggle with—to communication.
“We’ve learned where our weaknesses are and have surrounded ourselves with people who fill those spots,” Matt says, “Our employees bring their ideas to the table and become invested in the success and growth of the operation. That happens through trust and dedication.”
Matt and Janna also know the value of efficiency and what it means for the growth and success of their operation. The couple leverage data collection to drive efficiency.
“They have real-time information in the field; we’re all on the same page regardless of where we’re located,” says Janna.
Matt and Janna’s progressive and forward-thinking approach to growing and managing their farming operation opened the door to Matt receiving the Tomorrow’s Top Producer Award from Farm Journal, an honor he says still hasn’t fully sank in.
“It’s been a blur attending a conference during COVID, radio interviews, and the amount of recognition we don’t deserve. It’s been a fun ride but now it’s time to get to work,” Matt modestly says of the media attention the award garnered.
Today, Matt and Janna are involved in numerous leadership roles, helping young, beginning farmers find success. Matt says that the secret to success isn’t really a secret…
“Do good work, put your blinders on and keep your head down—good things will happen.”
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