Choosing to be a farmer was simple for Bob Brackmann. “I’ve always enjoyed working outdoors and the challenge of being able to prevent and solve day to day problems. It brings a real sense of accomplishment” he says. Bob also appreciates the satisfaction that comes with the beginning and ending of each planting and harvest season and working with other farmers. In previous years, Bob has held several jobs off the farm including trucking, construction, real estate, and doing custom work for other farmers. Today, he farms with his wife, Nancy, and his friends growing corn, soybeans, and wheat.
Bob notes the many changes that agriculture has seen over the years. The biggest change has been better equipment, new technology, and seed genetic research, which help him be a better steward for the environment. “I try to do my very best by using management practices such as No-Till soil conservation, following recommended seeding and fertilizer rates, and using integrated pest management.” Changes have also occurred throughout this area as farmland disappears to urban sprawl. Bob states that “now there is a lack of understanding and knowledge of what farmers actually do, due to the diminishing of farm land.” He believes one way to combat this is connecting with consumers and having honest conversations about farming practices. “The most important thing we can do is listen to their concerns. False accusations and untrue statements can spread quickly with social media. As farmers, we try to do the best we can to grow a safe and affordable food source.”
Farming is not without its challenges, as Bob knows. Market fluctuations, weather uncertainties, higher input costs and narrowing profit margins must be overcome in each production year. Despite these challenges, it is Bob’s hope that more young people will get into farming. “I believe it will become harder to find people with the understanding of the husbandry aspect of farming” he says. “We need to create better markets, safer work environments, and make farming more profitable for the next generation.”
Bob has been a Farm Bureau member for many years and is a past DCFB President. He currently serves as a Director on the DuPage County Farm Bureau Board. “Farm Bureau helps to protect the rights of farmers and gives us a voice with legislators. It promotes free trade and market accessibility and keeps us informed of changes in the farming industry.”