We Won’t Provide a Product or Service That We Ourselves Wouldn’t Use!
The Bryce family has long held its roots in farming and recently has fulfilled a dream from the early days, the opportunity to pass the farm to the next generation. Back in the 1950s, my grandparents started farming in Glenwood, MN. Grandpa grew up in nearby Villard and Grandma was working in Glenwood after high school, so Glenwood became the spot to start a family farm. My grandfather worked full-time off the farm as a highway technician for MN Dot to support grandma and their family of 7 kids. From a very young age, my dad had farming in his blood, and when the time came, he was the only one of the 7 to express an interest in farming.
So, in 1979, fresh out of tech school, my parents decided to try their hand at farming. When the decision had been made, there were several people who were willing to help. Grandma and Grandpa were willing to put their farm on the line providing the equity to obtain loans, my great-uncle provided equipment and labor, and they were blessed to have some wonderful long-term landlords. All this support meant the world to my parents, and they knew early on, if they made it, they would provide the opportunity to the next generation, hopefully a family member.
When Mom and Dad started farming, they built a new farrowing barn and concentrated on raising hogs and enough grain to feed them. When the hog market crashed, they branched out to selling seed, raising more cattle, and increased their acreage by about 400%. This experience wasn’t unique to my parents, as most young farmers of the 70’s and 80’s had a really tough start. Wild fluctuations in the markets, drought, and interest rates close to 20% forced many out of business or to restructure their debt. Those who bought land, like my parents, saw it depreciate by as much as 60%. They were doomed without some kind of outside help, and they now had the added burden of trying to support a growing family. And while the high-interest rates and declining land values of the mid-’80s were really tough, Dad says it wasn’t any worse than watching a crop fail due to weather or watching a newborn calf die. Great memories came about steadily through the years. It was certainly not easy for Mom and Dad, but somehow they made it work. Our family worked hard and played hard as a family. Farming was truly a “way of life.” Being close to the land and livestock kept our family well-grounded, with respect for God’s creation.
In 1992, they made the decision to establish Bryce Farms, Inc. (C Corp), because this was the business structure that made sense to them. After 36 years of farming, Mom and Dad decided to start transitioning the ownership of the farm to each of their 4 kids and our spouses. They were extremely proud of this, as it was their dream from very early on, to provide the same opportunity to the next generation. However, this transition could not be done without careful planning and consideration. Dad insisted on having a proper equipment appraisal to help establish and update share values on the farm and making sure we had all the bases covered. The equipment on the farm made up a major portion of the farm’s value. With good advisors and a professional approach, Mom and Dad achieved their dream. Without the help of a professional appraisal team, Mom and Dad would not have been able to retire and transfer the operation they had built.
Today, Mom and Dad say they are most proud of having raised their family on a farm. Dad is around the farm every day. But now, he is not afraid to quit early or leave for a while. He is comforted in knowing the opportunity has been passed onto his family and is in capable hands. We are blessed to have our brother (awesome agronomy knowledge!) and brother-in-law (amazing mechanical aptitude!) to oversee the farming operations going forward. Our parents now watch with pride from the kitchen window…or they’re off chasing their grandkids. That’s the Bryce Farms story.