Andrew Fansler who farms 4,500 acres of no till corn and soybeans in Shelby County was presented with the national Young Farmers Sustainability award Wednesday in Phoenix AZ. But what makes him unique is that he is a first generation farmer. He told HAT farming is something he wanted to from a very early age, “From a very young age, I wanted to drive a tractor and grow things.”
Fansler founded his business in 1995 on 42 rented acres at the age of only 16, trading labor for the equipment he needed to plant his first crop. Twenty years later, Fansler Farms employs six additional staff members and is a high-performance, multi-million dollar operation built around sustainable farming and business practices.
Fansler Farms uses a variety of conservation technologies. Some of the primary environmental sustainability measures employed by Fansler and his team in the field include no-till, crop rotations, and environmentally-friendly nutrition practices, fueled by a desire to reduce the operation’s footprint and to enhance the quality of the land and soil farmed. On top of no-till, Fansler utilizes cover crops to improve soil nutrition and actively manages nutrient usage through variable-rate planting, soil testing, tissue sampling, GPS-guided fertility application and yield monitoring. He is an active participant in the Conservation Stewardship Program, utilizing CRP grassed waterways and buffer strips, and he invests heavily in field tiling and other land improvements as needed each year.
“When I think about sustainability, what comes to mind are the many ways we as agricultural producers must strive to sustain not only profitability, but the factories in which we work – our land,” says Fansler. “Sustainability to me means being both financially sustainable and biologically sustainable. I strive to sustain and better everything I do!”
Each year, Bayer recognizes an agricultural producer age 40 or under who demonstrates entrepreneurial initiative and new approaches to farming, sustainability efforts, and economic stability. The 36-year-old Fansler received the award during the 10th annual Ag Issues Forum, a Bayer Crop Science-hosted, thought-leadership event. Fansler said he wants consumers to better understand what happens on a farm, “They need to know every day we work hard to improve the environment we live in.”
“Both on paper and in person, it’s clear that Andrew Fansler is an exceptional individual who embodies the passion, dedication, instinct, technical know-how, and business savvy needed to be a successful and sustainable farmer today,” says Jim Blome, President and CEO, Bayer Crop Science LP. “His love of farming and the entrepreneurial approach to business that he’s demonstrated ever since he was a kid is truly inspiring, and American agriculture is lucky to have him as a next-generation leader. We are proud to name him this year’s Young Farmer Sustainability Award winner and look forward to watching Andrew and Fansler Farms become even more successful in the future.”
In addition to farming, Andrew owns his own real-estate brokerage and is considered the premier regional expert on agricultural land values and investments. He is also active in his community, serving on the local Farm Credit Advisory Board and working with local elementary schools to educate the next generation about agriculture and where food comes from.
Andrew Fansler is the fifth recipient of the Young Farmer Sustainability Award, joining 2014 honoree Bryan Boll; 2013 winner Jeremy Jack; John Shepherd, 2012; and Ryan Kirby, first recipient of the award in 2011.
Visit our YouTube channel to view a video featuring Fansler Farms.