Lessons Learned With Indiana Farmer Steve Hicks

Pride in your work, learned this Indiana farmer, makes all the difference.

By Tharran E. Gaines | Photos By Tharran E. Gaines

FarmLife: What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Steve Hicks: My grandpa, Jene, always told me—and my dad continues to drive home the point—that you have to put a little pride in your work. No matter what it is you’re doing, you have to put some pride into it if you want to succeed.

FL: What have you learned from older farmers?

SH: I can’t even begin to list all the things I’ve learned from my grandpa, and my dad and uncle. I’ve learned a lot about cattle from my dad. He had a large feedlot for our area, and had a cow/calf operation with his dad and brothers before that. At the same time, though, we’re learning about cover crops together. Dad had used similar practices before to produce forage for our cattle, but the concept of using the same crops for improving our soils is new. Still, having utilized some of the techniques before, made it easy for him to go along with the idea.

FL: What’s one mistake that really taught you a lesson?

SH: It’s probably not listening to my parents when I was younger. I was kind of hard-headed and tried to do things my own way, so it might have saved me a lot of “do-overs” had I listened. But maybe that’s why they let me go at times. It was so I could figure it out on my own … even if I did learn the hard way. It just took me 30 years to listen.

FL: How have you changed since you were younger?

SH: When I started farming, I wanted to be a big farmer, cover a lot of ground and run a lot of cows. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized I would rather just be the best farmer I can be and run the nicest cows possible.