Roots of the Economy – A Farm Spotlight

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Where would our rural economy be without the contribution of farms? Small towns, like Hiawatha, have an economic base in farming. The roots of our town history are planted in the rich soil of farming. It is important that we appreciate the pulse of our town’s economy.

One farm, belonging to Charles and Jane Bebermeyer, has contributed to our small town’s economy since 1966. The Bebermeyer’s farm is located nine miles north of town, and it has stayed true to its home roots by means of its annual contributions to the Hiawatha Foundation for Economic Development (HFED).

“If you don’t put anything back into your hometown, eventually, there won’t be anything left,” explained Bebermeyer, when asked about the importance of his contributions to HFED. He later went on to specify that this is especially true with farms in rural areas.

Since the operation’s startup in 1966, the Bebermeyer farm has purchased more land for expansion, though its operation plans have stayed relatively the same. It is a traditional style farm employing Bebermeyer, his wife Jane, as well as the couple’s  nephew. Corn and soybeans are grown on the land, which runs on a 100 percent no-till system.


At this time there are no plans in the works for any notable, large-scale expansion. The Bebermeyers hold a steady spot in the economy of Hiawatha as they continue to contribute to HFED, as they have for a number of years now. Charles stated his strong feelings about the importance of farming when he addressed contributions that come from the outskirts of Hiawatha. Without the contributions of all members of the town to a cause like HFED, “there wouldn’t be anything left, especially in the country.”

Charles hopes that the youth of Hiawatha will see the importance of their contributions to the community in the future.

“My advice to young people: work hard, get an education, and know the importance of working smart as well as working hard,” said Charles.

The Bebermeyer farm is among a number of farms in Richardson county. Whether or not they run on a similar operation plan, it is the hope that they, too, will see the importance of contributing to organizations like HFED. Farming is not the only way to contribute to HFED, in fact, any business that is part of the Hiawatha township is able to contribute to the economy via HFED.

It is the hope that the generous, annual contribution from the Bebermeyers will inspire other farmers to contribute to the local economy of Hiawatha. Contributions from farmers in the surrounding areas around Hiawatha will help, as Charles explains, to create a giving environment for youth and adults alike. It is important to remember to give back to a community that has affords such wonderful opportunities, as Hiawatha has for most of us.

By Randee Glander

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