LAPEL — For five generations the Simmermon family has been farming near the town of Lapel.
John Simmermon, 65, is the fifth generation of the family that has been involved in farming, starting with his great-great-great grandfather.
“I don’t know what my son is going to do,” Simmermon said. “He’s out in Colorado. This might be the end of the line.”
The family farms 1,500 acres in Stony Creek Township, raising corn and soybeans. A pork production facility is also part of the operation.
“Until two years ago we owned everything concerning the hogs,” Simmermon said. “Now we custom feed for other people. We’re strictly for production. They bring them in and we have them grow as fast as possible.”
Simmermon said he started driving a tractor at the age of 8.
“Tractors were a lot simpler then,” he laughed. “I wouldn’t have an 8-year-old driving a tractor today.”
Simmermon said farming together is done in small grids determined by GPS systems.
“While at Purdue University I wanted to be a commodity broker,” he said. “I studied marketing a lot and knew the professor really well. He knew the farm very well, and he talked me out of being a commodity broker and to tend to the farm.”
Simmermon employs five people in his operation.
“The livestock keeps you busy all year long and you have a steady income,” he said. “The corn crop will be head high by July 4.
“This whole summer has been strong basically because of the demand from China for hogs and crops,” Simmermon added. “The pandemic didn’t impact us. There was still the demand and we kept steady and socially distanced.”
Simmermon said daughter, who resides in Texas, has no interest in farming.
“I’m sure what we’ll do is lease the ground when I decide to retire,” he said. “I still want to farm for a while.”
Simmermon said the farming operation could be taken over by someone who is working there now, with Simmermon doing the book work.
“I really enjoy the planting in the spring, putting the seed in the ground,” Simmermon said. “With the hogs it’s interesting to me to watch how quickly we can get them to grow, stay healthy and treat them humanely.”
Simmermon also rents roasters and supplies the hogs and provides instruction on how to cook the pork.
He said the business starts in May and goes through November.
A graduate of Lapel High School, Simmermon participated in track and played basketball for legendary coach Dallas Hunter.
He met his wife, Marcia, at Purdue University.
Marcia is from Indianapolis, and Simmermon said he made her take a couple of agriculture classes at Purdue.