RANDOLPH, Iowa — Isaac Fichter doesn’t remember every detail, but he remembers the day his father retired from farming.
“The last bushels were going in the bin and he said ‘that’s it,’” Isaac says. “We were all pretty surprised.”
Mark Fichter retired in 2019, moving to Bellevue, Nebraska, with his wife Benita and leaving the day-to-day operation of the farm to their three sons — Sterling, 34; Jeremiah, 32; and Isaac, 25.
“We were helping out already,” Sterling says. “I had 250 acres that I was renting. Jeremiah was working off the farm as was Isaac. I was pretty much working full-time as a handyman and carpenter, but we all wanted to farm when we were kids and saw this is a great opportunity.”
Four years later, this trio of southwest Iowa farmers grows corn and soybeans on about 1,100 acres in Fremont County. Sterling and Isaac farm their own acres and also share some equipment.
Jeremiah works as an agronomist for Heartland Co-Op in Randolph.
“We had a neighbor who started renting me his ground, and we asked Jeremiah if he wanted to get involved,” Sterling says. “So we have three equal shares there along with the rest of the land we farm.”
Sterling stays busy with his carpentry work, and he also operates a cover crop seeding business. Isaac is pretty much full-time on the farm, although he puts his mechanics training to good use helping other farmers with their machinery.
Isaac also does some custom anhydrous work, and that’s an area the brothers believe they can use to help expand their farming operation.
The brothers all share in the decision-making process. They discuss expenditures as well as potential income.
“With Jeremiah’s background in agronomy, we kind of defer to him on the piece of ground that we all farm together,” Sterling says. “We get along well, so the decisions are usually pretty easy to come by.”
The brothers are all graduates of Fremont Mills High School. Sterling’s wife Christina is a stay-at-home mom and does custom baking. Jeremiah’s wife Elizabeth is an architect, while Isaac’s wife Lyndsay works at a bank and helps out on the farm.
Sterling and Isaac are active on social media with their YouTube channel youtube.com/@iowafarmbros.
The brothers aren’t afraid to work, and they hope that hard work pays off when they reach their ultimate goal — being able to have all the brothers full-time on the farm.
“That’s really what we all want,” Jeremiah says. “We’re always looking to farm more ground, and hopefully we can build our acres enough that we can all farm full-time.”
Sterling says farming is in the brothers’ blood.
“I remember Jeremiah playing with plastic tractors in the yard when we were kids, and I think we all sort of knew that we wanted to farm,” he says. “We’re going to work very hard to reach our goal.”