Potato Grower

February 2016

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WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 27 Pavelski veins. August's great-grandson, Richard Pavelski, currently serves as CEO of Heartland Farms, which has become one of the largest and most innovative potato and vegetable operation in the U.S. Richard's son, Jeremie Pavelski, is the company's president; Jeremie's wife Alicia also pitches in as the farm's project manager. The Pavelskis have always been keen on expanding their operation. As such, Dave Knights—whose family has been farming in the Midwest since the 1860s—was brought on as a partner in 1990, and the company's name was officially changed from A.M. Pavelski & Sons to Heartland Farms. Knights is now Heartland's executive vice president. Today, Heartland Farms encompasses some 24,000 irrigated acres spread across four Wisconsin counties. Potatoes are the heart and soul of the operation, with about 8,500 acres of Heartland land dedicated to the crop annually. Though the farm is of a size that makes it difficult to ignore, all of the company's farm acreage is within 100 miles of it headquarters. "We try to stick to our core competency, and that's potatoes," says Jeremie Pavelski. "We rent out most of the rest of our land for rotational crops." All of Heartland's potatoes go to the chipping sector, and the company's vast amount of potato land makes for a lot of chips. Heartland Farms is one of the largest storage suppliers for chips in the U.S., storing upwards of 4.5 million hundredweight per year. "It's taken us a long time to get to where we are," says Jeremie. "We're very fortunate to have very productive ground here, and we don't take that lightly." The folks at Heartland Farms have a hard time standing still, and that's evident in their dedication to constantly try new things. From the equipment operators and mechanics to applicators and IT personnel, Heartland employees are encouraged to seek out the newest and most innovative products and practices. "We like to experiment with new technologies coming down the pipeline and learn as much as we can about them In September 2015, Heartland broke ground for its new farm operations, technology and training center in Hancock, Wis. Present were, left to right, Josh Knights, Heartland Farms transportation manager ; state Rep. Scott Krug; Ted Burkowski, Town of Colburn chair ; TJ Kennedy, Heartland vice president of operations; Heartland co-founder Dave Knights; Heartland president Jeremie Pavelski; Heartland project manager Alicia Pavelski; Barb Pavelski; state Senator Julie Lassa; and Heartland CEO and co-founder Richard Pavelski.

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