LA FONTAINE, Ind. - Perched on a hill amid endless contours of sunflower, canola and wheat fields lies the family farm of Darin Hadley. Considered small for northeast Indiana, the 150-acre farm in Southern Wabash County definitely keeps Darin and his wife Amanda busy when they’re not working their full-time jobs.
During the day, Amanda works as an insurance agent nearby, while Darin, an agricultural banker for PNC, travels hundreds of miles a week to visit farmers and other clients all over northern Indiana.
At night and on weekends, the Hadleys, like other neighboring families, are often in “farm to fork” mode – working hard to bring their crops to the mouths of consumers. This includes their two young children who love to ride along on the tractor too.
Hadley’s family has been farming for decades. His father owns and operates a 700-acre family farm in Fort Wayne and was recognized as the 2015 Indiana Farm Family of the Year by a farming publication - an honor for the family’s service to the community and the agriculture industry.
During planting and harvesting season, Darin often works past midnight in the fields. But the lanterns of generations past are now replaced by equipment loaded with high-intensity LED lights that make the fields almost as bright as daytime.
Darin Hadley with wife Amanda, daughter Ashleigh (7) and son Raymond (3) pose on their family farm where they grow sunflowers and canola, a unique crop for Indiana farmers.
While farming has always been part of his life, in high school Darin realized he couldn’t afford to live on only the income of a small farm. The first of his family to go into agricultural banking, his life experiences inspired him to pursue banking so that he could help other farmers establish financially strong businesses.
“I knew this would give me an opportunity to work with the best farmers in the region and interact with them in a positive way,” he said. “If they are successful, so is our community and our region. I want to be a part of that winning formula.”
As both a farmer and business banker, Hadley has a unique perspective about how his passion can help farming clients. “Our clients are pretty modest and don’t always tell the full story about the quality of food they produce for our country,” Hadley said. “I want to help them create their success story.”
In the past five years, he switched to growing sunflower and canola crops which have created unique opportunities for him. “This allows me to offer a unique product on the market and reap double harvests because it is a drought-friendly crop – a crucial element to crop survival today. I want to help other farmers figure out the same type of creative sustainability solutions. Together, it ultimately helps their financial success – they go hand in hand. ” he says.
Darin prepares to plant sunflower seeds on his 150-acre farm in Southern Wabash County, Ind.
According to Hadley, the biggest difference when dealing with farming operations is the cash flow cycle. A crop is typically harvested once a year, and a farmer’s revenue stream from that crop follows a similar pattern.
“A good ag banker understands each farmer’s specific cash flow cycle and recommends products to help them through its peaks and valleys. It’s a very personal relationship and that’s what I take pride in,” he said.
Darin Hadley, third-generation farmer in northern Indiana
The Hadley family has a multi-generational farming heritage. 'When I spend time with my bank clients, we spend most of our time talking about farming. They appreciate my background and I earn their trust which makes me more effective as we discuss strategies to help them succeed.'
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