2012 Professional Farm Manager of the Year: Brent Bidner
Brent Bidner was raised on a crop and livestock farm in McLean County, Ill. He grew up actively involved in the production of corn, soybeans and hay, and was part owner of a hog and cattle operation. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in agriculture economics, Bidner joined Hertz Farm Management, knowing he wanted to pursue a career that would keep him close to production agriculture.
Nearly 25 years later, Bidner provides professional farm management services for Hertz Farm Management clients who represent more than 18,000 acres across Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Colorado.
His approach to managing clients’ land includes taking care of the land the same way he would if he owned it himself. “I look at it as a long-term, not just a short-term investment,” said Bidner, AFM and vice president of the Monticello, Ill., office of Hertz Farm Management. “My goal is to leave it for the next generation in better shape than it was when I took over management of the property.”
Lisa and Brent Bidner have two sons, Ryan in the photo, and the older son Jake, who was at Indiana University when the photo was taken. Staying actively involved in the management of more than 18,000 acres across four states isn’t an easy task. However, those who know him best say he is the perfect man for the job.
One of his clients, Paul Gorden, president of Kenway Farm in Bloomington, Ill., needed to improve efficiency on the farm. Bidner recommended the installation of a grain-drying system, which has made it possible to store and market grain at the owner’s convenience. “Through this and other improvements, Brent has increased our corn production nearly 12 percent and soybean production by 10 percent when you compare pre-management averages to recent averages,” said Gorden.
Technology is constantly evolving and Bidner has embraced the innovative practices and upgrades that are necessary to ensure the success of the farms he manages. “A lot of people take soil tests every four years, but I’ve been taking soil tests every two years and variably applying fertilizer,” said Bidner. “I want to make sure I’m putting fertilizer where it is needed, as opposed to just blanket-spreading farms.”
Bidner has also completed a number of conservation practices and irrigation system improvements on the farms he manages. “Brent carried out a drainage installation project that was very complicated,” said Joel Hertz, AAC, ALC, AFM, ARA and chairman of the board emeritus for Hertz Farm Management. “It necessitated working with about 16 different neighbors, but he facilitated the project with ease and got the job done.”